Sport shorts: Rafael Nadal beats Nick Kyrgios in a thriller and Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes contract talks ‘hit a snag’
Ten things from the world of sport on Monday 27 January
1. Men’s ‘big three’ reach the last eight
Rafael Nadal has joined rivals Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open tennis grand slam.
World No.1 Nadal beat Australia’s Nick Kyrgios in a thriller today in Melbourne, progressing with a 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (8-6), 7-6 (7-4) victory.
Spaniard Nadal, who will now play Dominic Thiem in the men’s last eight on Wednesday, said: “It was a very tough match. You are never in control against Nick because he’s so difficult to break. I played a scary game at 5-4, accepted that and tried to find the level of my tennis again.
“When Nick is playing like today he gives a lot of positive things to our sport and I encourage him to keep playing like this because he is one of the highest talents.
“It will be a tough match [against Thiem], we know each other very well, he’s a great character, a fighter and hits the ball very well. I am moving in the right direction though and hopefully this victory gives me more positive feelings.”
Tomorrow in Melbourne American Sofia Kenin faces Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur in the first women’s singles last-eight clash on Rod Laver Arena. This match is followed by Australia’s Ash Barty, the world No.1, taking on Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic.
In the first two men’s singles quarter-finals tomorrow six-time winner Federer plays Tennys Sandgren and defending champion Djokovic goes head-to-head with Milos Raonic.
2. Lewis-Mercedes talks ‘hit a snag’
It was reported last week that six-time Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton is set to sign a new two-year contract extension at Mercedes.
However, according to Planet F1, citing Italian publication Corriere dello Sport, negotiations between Hamilton and Mercedes have “hit a snag”.
Hamilton reportedly wants a four-year deal, instead of two, and is holding out for an annual salary of €55m (£46.2m).
The British driver has been linked with a switch in 2021 to Mercedes’s rivals Ferrari. His current deal with Mercedes expires at the end of this year.
3. RIP Kobe Bryant
Lewis Hamilton was one of the global sports stars who paid tribute to Kobe Bryant yesterday.
NBA legend Bryant, 41, and his daughter Gianna Maria Onore, 13, were among nine people killed in a helicopter crash near Calabasas in California.
Hamilton said: “I’m sad to hear that we lost one of our greats. @kobebryant was one of the greatest athletes and was such an inspiration to so many including myself.”
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4. Middle Eastern Magpies
The Times reports that Newcastle United may become a Saudi Arabian holding within the next 48 hours as owner Mike Ashley decides whether to accept a £340m offer for the club from the Middle East country’s sovereign wealth fund.
The story was first broken on Saturday by The Wall Street Journal in which the paper claimed that Ashley had asked for two days to weigh up his options.
According to the Times, “a deal fronted by Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who has control of a Public Investment Fund that boasts assets of about £300bn, could go through this week”.
5. Sinckler signs for Bristol
England prop Kyle Sinckler will leave Harlequins for Bristol Bears this summer. The 26-year-old, who played for England in the Rugby World Cup, will join Bristol on a two-year deal.
Sinckler said: “The opportunity to come to Bristol and play under Pat Lam was one that I couldn’t turn down. The Bears are an ambitious club on the up and it was great to visit the city and the facilities that they have. There’s a clear plan in place for long-term success and I’m looking forward to contributing.”
6. Eriksen set for Inter medical
Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Christian Eriksen looks likely to join Inter Milan this week. The Dane landed in Italy this morning ahead of a medical with the Serie A giants.
Sky Sports reports that the 27-year-old will sign for Inter in a £16.8m move and he will earn £320,000 per week in wages.
Meanwhile, ESPN says Paris Saint-Germain and Atletico Madrid are “getting close” to agreeing a deal for striker Edinson Cavani. The Uruguayan, 32, has been linked with Manchester United and Chelsea, but looks set for a move to the Spanish capital.
7. New Zealand lift first Netball Nations Cup
New Zealand are the first winners of the Netball Nations Cup after beating Jamaica 67-56 in the final at London’s Copper Box yesterday. England took bronze after a 65-63 victory over South Africa in the third-place play-off.
8. Leishman wins at Torrey Pines
Australian golfer Marc Leishman won the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines by one shot ahead of Spain’s Jon Rahm.
Leishman, who hit a final-round seven-under 65, said: “I saw that the guys out front didn’t get off to the best start and then that really got my determination up. I’ve led here early in the last round maybe once or twice and let it slip. I was very determined to not let that happen again.”
9. Robertson masters Zhou
Australian snooker star Neil Robertson stormed to a 9-0 victory against China’s Zhou Yuelong in the final of the European Masters in Austria. Robertson has now won 17 ranking titles in his career.
10. Klopp: kids will play replay
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says the Anfield club will pick a youth team for the FA Cup replay against Shrewsbury Town because the first team will be on the Premier League winter break.
Speaking after yesterday’s 2-2 draw with the League One side, Klopp said: “The Premier League asked us to respect the winter break. That’s what we do. If the FA doesn’t respect that, then we cannot change it. We will not be there.
“We have to respect the players’ welfare. They need a rest. They need a mental rest, a physical rest, and that’s what the winter break is all about.”