World Sports News in Brief

Halep thrashes Kontaveit to reach Melbourne semis

Wednesday, 2020-01-29 09:06:34
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Tennis - Australian Open - Quarter Final - Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia - January 29, 2020 Romania's Simona Halep (L) shakes hands with Estonia's Anett Kontaveit after winning the match. (Photo: Reuters)
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Fourth seed Simona Halep took just 53 minutes to thrash Estonian Anett Kontaveit 6-1 6-1 and storm into the semi-finals of the Australian Open on Wednesday.

Halep had not lost a set in her previous two meetings with Kontaveit, who managed just one breakpoint on the former world number one’s serve. The Romanian, runner-up at Melbourne Park in 2018, will meet either Spaniard Garbine Muguruza or Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia for a place in Saturday’s final.

* Wayne Rooney scored his first goal for Derby County as he struck the opener in a 3-2 defeat at bottom side Luton Town in the Championship (second tier) on Tuesday. The 34-year-old ex-England captain, who made his debut earlier this month, found the back of the net with a deflected shot after being set up by Duane Holmes in the 63rd minute.

* Aston Villa's Trezeguet struck a dramatic 93rd-minute winner to send them into the League Cup final with a 2-1 victory over Leicester City that gave them a 3-2 aggregate win on Tuesday. Villa, five-times winners back who are back in the final for the first time since 2010, will face either Manchester City or Manchester United, who meet in their second-leg clash on Wednesday, with City leading 3-1 on aggregate.

* Fourth division side Belfort knocked top-flight Montpellier out of the French Cup last 16 with a 5-4 victory on penalties after a 0-0 draw following extra time on Tuesday. Stade Rennes reached the quarter-finals by winning 5-4 after extra time at fellow top-flight side Angers.

* Former Argentine president Mauricio Macri has been appointed executive chairman of the FIFA Foundation, the organisation founded by world football's governing body in 2018 to promote social change. Macri will work alongside CEO Youri Djorkaeff and focus on education programmes.

* Reigning US Open champion Bianca Andreescu will make her 2020 season debut next week as a member of the Canadian team that will face Switzerland in a Fed Cup qualifier, Tennis Canada said on Tuesday. World number six Andreescu, who missed this year's Australian Open due to a knee injury suffered at the WTA Finals in Shenzhen last October, will be joined in the Canada squad by Eugenie Bouchard, Gabriela Dabrowski and Leylah Annie Fernandez. The winner of the Feb. 7-8 tie in Biel will qualify for the Fed Cup Finals in Budapest, Hungary in April.

* Serena Williams will be joined by teenage sensation Coco Gauff as part of the US team that will face Latvia in a Fed Cup qualifier next month, the United States Tennis Association said on Tuesday. The USTA announced two weeks ago that Williams would return Fed Cup action for the Feb. 7-8 tie in Everett, Washington and now rounded out the team with Gauff, Sofia Kenin, Alison Riske and Bethanie Mattek-Sands.

* Valencia coach Albert Celades has confirmed his team are negotiating with Barcelona over the sale of striker Rodrigo Moreno on Tuesday. Spanish champions Barcelona are looking to replace injured striker Luis Suarez, who will miss around four months after knee surgery. Valencia president Anil Murthy was in the Barcelona with Jorge Mendes to negotiate a deal for the striker, valued at 60 million euros, Spanish media reports said.

* Former champions Kashima Antlers suffered a shock exit from the playoffs of the Asian Champions League on Tuesday following a 1-0 defeat by Australia's Melbourne Victory. Melbourne, who had never won an away game in the competition in 22 previous attempts, advanced to the group phase of the competition thanks to a goal by striker Andrew Nabbout.

* Flamengo will hold on to loan signing Gabriel Barbosa after the prolific striker agreed a permanent deal from Italian side Inter Milan, the player and the Brazilian club said on Tuesday. Barbosa, who scored both the goals that helped Flamengo beat River Plate 2-1 and win the Copa Libertadores in November, signed a reported five-year deal for around 17 million euros (US$18.86 million).

* Winger Hatem Ben Arfa has joined Real Valladolid on a six-month deal to help them in their relegation battle, the Spanish club said on Tuesday. The former Newcastle United and Paris St Germain player has been a free agent since leaving French team Stade Rennais last summer. The side owned by Brazilian great Ronaldo sit 16th in La Liga, five points above the relegation zone after 21 games.

* Inter Milan have signed Denmark playmaker Christian Eriksen from Tottenham Hotspur on a 4-1/2 year contract after the two clubs agreed the midfielder’s transfer, both sides announced on Tuesday. There were no financial details available but reports said the move was worth 20 million euros (US$22.19 million). Eriksen has scored 51 goals and registered 62 assists in the Premier League since joining the London club from Ajax Amsterdam in 2013 and helped Spurs reach the Champions League final for the first time last year.

* Defending champion Novak Djokovic set up a semi-final showdown with 'Big Three' rival Roger Federer at the Australian Open on Tuesday with a thumping 6-4 6-3 7-6(1) victory over Canada's hapless Milos Raonic. Federer saved seven match points in a five-set thriller with American battler Tennys Sandgren only hours before but there was no luck of a second successive belter for the Rod Laver Arena fans, with Djokovic at his ruthless best. The crowd will hope for a better show on Thursday, when second seed Djokovic renews his Grand Slam rivalry with Federer, six months after fighting off match points to beat the Swiss in Wimbledon's longest ever final.

* Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has urged his players to produce a "perfect performance" if they are to overcome Manchester City and progress to the League Cup final. United trail 3-1 from the first leg of the semi-final at Old Trafford as they prepare to face their local rivals in the return leg at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday.

* American Sofia Kenin saw off big-hitting Tunisian Ons Jabeur 6-4 6-4 at the Australian Open on Tuesday to reach her first Grand Slam semi-final. The American will meet either world number one Ash Barty of Australia or Czech Petra Kvitova for a place in Saturday's final.

* AC Milan knocked out Torino FC 4-2 at Giuseppe Meazza Stadium, commonly known as San Siro, in the third Coppa Italia quarterfinal in the northern city of Milan on Tuesday. Milan will face Juventus in one of the two Coppa Italia semi-finals after Juve bested Roma 3-1 on January 21.

Reuters, Xinhua