World Sports News in Brief

Champion Djokovic digs deep to beat Struff in Melbourne opener

Tuesday, 2020-01-21 10:04:54
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Tennis - Australian Open - First Round - Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia - January 20, 2020. Serbia's Novak Djokovic in action during his match against Germany's Jan-Lennard Struff. (Photo: Reuters)
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Second seed Novak Djokovic was forced to work hard by Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff in his first match of the Australian Open on Monday before prevailing 7-6(5) 6-2 2-6 6-1 to stay on course for a record-extending eighth title at Melbourne Park.

Djokovic will meet either Japanese wildcard Tatsuma Ito or lucky loser Prajnesh Gunneswaran of India in the second round. Spain’s Rafa Nadal will begin his quest for a 20th Grand Slam title against Bolivia’s Hugo Dellien on Tuesday.

* British number one Johanna Konta tumbled out in the first round of the Australian Open on Tuesday with a comprehensive 6-4 6-2 defeat at the hands of Tunisia's world number 78 Ons Jabeur. The 12th seed, clearly not yet match fit on her return from a knee injury that cut short her 2019 season, went down in just over an hour on number one court in a match washed out on Monday by rain.

* A first-half double from Keita Balde helped AS Monaco through to the last 16 of the French Cup on Monday with a 3-1 win at fourth tier giant-killers Saint-Pryve Saint-Hilaire. Roberto Moreno's side will play Saint-Etienne in the next round on Jan. 29.

* Free-scoring Atalanta missed a chance to move back into the top four of Serie A when they suffered a shock 2-1 home defeat on Monday against SPAL, who started the day bottom of the table. Atalanta stayed fifth with 35 points while SPAL, with 15, moved off the bottom of the table where they were replaced by Genoa.

* Fernando Alonso will be free to drive for whomever he chooses at this year's Indianapolis 500 after ending his relationship with McLaren. The Formula One team confirmed on Monday that the double world champion's contract had expired at the end of last year and was not renewed.

* American Maddie Bowman, who won the women's halfpipe freestyle skiing debut at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, announced her retirement from competition on Monday, saying she had given everything she could to advance the sport. The 26-year-old Bowman, who became one of the most decorated athletes in her sport, said she now intended to pursue her bachelor's degree in biology with the goal of becoming a high school science teacher.

* Real Madrid have signed yet another young Brazilian talent in the form of 18-year-old attacking midfielder Reinier Jesus from Flamengo, the La Liga club announced on Monday. The club said in a statement that Reinier, who won the Copa Libertadores with his boyhood club in December, has signed a six-year deal at the Bernabeu.

* Manchester City will target second place in the Premier League and focus on cup competitions with unbeaten league leaders Liverpool too far ahead to reel in, manager Pep Guardiola said on Monday. Defending league champions City are 16 points behind Liverpool - who have a game in hand - and Guardiola said he could not afford to be distracted by Juergen Klopp's side who have recorded the best run of form in Premier League history.

* Newcastle United centre back Paul Dummett and on-loan left back Jetro Willems will play no further part this campaign after sustaining season-ending injuries, manager Steve Bruce confirmed on Monday. Willems, on loan from German side Eintracht Frankfurt, was taken off on a stretcher early in their 1-0 win over Chelsea in the Premier League over the weekend with a knee injury and Bruce said he tore his anterior cruciate ligament.

* Caroline Wozniacki battled "mixed emotions" as she stepped on court at the Australian Open on Monday to begin the final tournament of her career but the former world No. 1 kept her composure to deliver a 6-1 6-3 first-round win over Kristie Ahn. Wozniacki will next face the winner of the match between 21st-ranked Dayana Yastremska and Slovenian qualifier Kaja Juvan.

Reuters