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Defending Champion, Nadal Crashes Out Of Australian Open

Defending champion Rafa Nadal bowed out of the second round of the Australian Open on Wednesday after suffering an injury during his 6-4 6-4 7-5 defeat by American Mackenzie McDonald.

Nadal’s ouster shakes up the men’s draw and puts a twist in the Grand Slam titles race, with nine-times champion Novak Djokovic able to draw level with the Spaniard’s 22 major championships should he take a 10th crown at Melbourne Park.

Nadal appeared to suffer a strain in his left hip area while running for a backhand deep in the second set at Rod Laver Arena and after receiving attention from a trainer he took an off-court medical time-out when trailing 6-4 5-3.

He returned grim faced to play out the match but his movement was clearly affected, particularly on his backhand side, paving the way for McDonald to end the Spaniard’s bid for a third title at Melbourne Park.

Before the injury McDonald had played superbly to take the first set, going toe-to-toe with the 36-year-old Spaniard and winning most of the ferocious baseline exchanges.

“He’s an incredible champion, he’s never going to give up regardless of the situation so even closing it out against a top guy like that is always tough.

“I was trying to stay so focused on what I was doing and he kind of got me out of that with what he was doing. But I kind of just kept focusing on myself and got through.

“Last time I played him was at Chatrier, he kicked my butt,” said McDonald, who took only four games off Nadal in the second round of the French Open in 2020.

“It’s tough to hit through on clay but I liked my chances on hard, I really wanted to take it to him on hard court. I’m really glad I got my chance and got away with it,”said McDonald.

After Nadal’s time-out, he returned to court to a big ovation and earned another round of applause when he held serve.

His gloomy expression told the story, though, and he declined to retrieve a drop-shot in the next game, shaking his head at his worried entourage.

McKenzie took the second set when Nadal whacked a forehand into the net, and the Spaniard thudded his racket into his chair at the change of ends.

Leaning heavily on serve and relying on touch, Nadal dragged McDonald deep into the third set but was finally broken to 6-5 when the American bolted forward to flick a passing shot past him.

Nadal attacked the net in a desperate last stand but there was to be no repeat of the “Miracle of Melbourne”, when he came back from two sets down in last year’s classic final to beat Daniil Medvedev.

(Reuters)

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In Last Minute Manoeuvering, Everton-bound Arnaut Danjuma Joins Tottenham

Arnaut Danjuma has been confirmed as a Tottenham Hotspur player just few moments after he had agreed a deal and passed a medical at Merseyside with Everton.

Danjuma joins Spurs on loan from Villarreal, marking their first signing of the January window, a deal hijacked by the North London club in a last-minute swoop.

The Netherlands international, who was not selected for the World Cup in Qatar, underwent a medical yesterday and will replace Lucas Moura in Conte’s squad.

The 25-year-old agreed a move that will see him spend the remainder of the 2022-23 campaign with Antonio Conte’s side.

Danjuma also confirmed his arrival at Spurs on social media with a tweet showing three pictures of him completing his move and tagging it with the club’s motto, saying: ‘To dare is to do. Let’s get to work.

Tottenham are also holding a crucial round of talks over a move for Sporting right wing-back Pedro Porro.

Spurs hope to close a deal for the 25-year-old, but Sporting are holding out for his £39.5million release clause.

 

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Relegation-threatened Everton Sack Manager, Frank Lampard

Everton have announced the sack of manager  Frank Lampard following the Toffees’  Premier League loss to West Ham this past weekend.

In the so-called “El Sackico” match, Lampard’s team lost to the Hammers 2-0 at the London Stadium.

Daily Mail reported on Monday that due to the outcome, which left Everton two points from safety in the Premier League’s relegation zone, the club’s under-pressure board decided to fire Lampard.

Following the loss, owner Farhad Moshiri met with other board members in the capital.

He had made a rare appearance at the West Ham game where he bizarrely claimed it was “not his decision” to fire Lampard. Following those talks, a choice was made regarding Lampard’s future.

The departure of the manager won’t likely calm the Toffees’ fan base, either, as they have recently been criticizing those in authority for what they see to be years of making bad decisions.

Nuno Espirito Santo, who is presently in charge of Saudi Arabian team Al-Ittihad and was previously the manager of Wolves and Tottenham, is one candidate being considered to replace Lampard.

Sean Dyche, who is unemployed after leaving Burnley at the end of last season, has also been mentioned as a potential candidate.

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Court Orders Remand Of Brazil Star, Dani Alves

A Spanish judge has ordered that Brazil football player Dani Alves be jailed on remand without bail following an alleged sexual assault of a woman in a Barcelona nightclub.

According to the regional court system on Friday, the 39-year-old who has denied any wrongdoing was taken to the Brians 1 jail outside Barcelona.

Earlier on Friday, Alves appeared before a Barcelona judge after local police detained and questioned him.

The public prosecutor had requested he be jailed without bail pending trial.

Alves’ representatives did not respond to a request for comment.

His Mexican club Pumas UNAM announced they had terminated his contract with immediate effect.

“The club reiterates its commitment to not tolerate acts by any member, whoever they may be, that go against the club’s spirit and its values,” Pumas sporting president Leopoldo Silva said.

“We cannot allow the conduct of one person to damage our work philosophy, which has been an example throughout history.

The alleged victim had filed a complaint earlier this month and the case remains open over a crime of sexual assault, Catalonia’s court system said in a statement.

Alves had said earlier this month that he was at the club with other people but denied any such behaviour.

“I was dancing and having a good time without invading anyone’s space,” he said.

“I don’t know who this lady is… How could I do that to a woman? ”

Alves played for FC Barcelona from 2008 to 2016 and briefly returned to the LaLiga team for the 2021/2022 season

He has played for the Brazil national team since 2006, making 126 appearances and scoring eight.

(Reuters)

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