Federer, Serena breeze into US Open last 16 but Nishikori out

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Roger Federer of Switzerland returns a shot during his Men's Singles third round match against Daniel Evans of Great Britain on day five of the 2019 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on August 30, 2019 in New York City. (Clive Brunskill/Getty Images/AFP)
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Serena Williams of the US celebrates a point against Karolina Muchova of the Czech Republic during her Women's Singles round three match on day five of the 2019 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on August 30, 2019 in New York City. (Al Bello/Getty Images/AFP)
Updated 31 August 2019

Federer, Serena breeze into US Open last 16 but Nishikori out

  • Federer routed Britain’s 58th-ranked Dan Evans 6-2, 6-2, 6-1 in only 80 minutes
  • 2014 US Open runner-up Kei Nishikori was ousted by Australian Alex de Minaur

NEW YORK: Roger Federer and Serena Williams, the all-time leaders in Grand Slam titles, cruised into the fourth round of the US Open on Friday while 2014 US Open runner-up Kei Nishikori was ousted by Australian Alex de Minaur.
Federer routed Britain’s 58th-ranked Dan Evans 6-2, 6-2, 6-1 in only 80 minutes, blasting 48 winners to just seven for Evans, whose effort was hampered by an 18-hour turnaround between matches.
“I really enjoyed myself,” Federer said. “I was able to adjust and take care of business so it was good.”
After dropping the first set in his first two matches, Federer was solid from start to finish.
“What matters the most is that I’m in the third round after those two sort of slow starts,” Federer said. “I actually can go through three sets in a row playing really good tennis.”
Evans blasted organizers for playing him first on limited rest after a rain-delayed match on Thursday while his 38-year-old Swiss rival, a 20-time Slam champion, rested after playing Wednesday under the roof at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
“I was fatigued,” Evans said. “I thought it was pretty tough I was first up after playing yesterday, if I’m being brutally honest, so it was a bit disappointing.
“Just to try and beat him feeling tired, stiff, playing four sets yesterday, it’s near on impossible, but I actually thought he played pretty much no-error tennis.”
Next up for Federer is Belgian 15th seed David Goffin.
Williams continued her quest for a 24th career Grand Slam title to equal Margaret Court’s all-time record by crushing 44th-ranked Czech Karolina Muchova 6-3, 6-2 in 74 minutes.
“I had a lot of intensity today, which is really good for me,” said Williams, whose next opponent is Croatian 22nd seed Petra Martic.
The 37-year-old American, six times a US Open champion, has been a runner-up in three of the past five Slams, falling to Naomi Osaka in last year’s US Open final.
She last won a Slam crown at the 2017 Australian Open while pregnant and hasn’t won the US Open title since 2014.
Japanese seventh seed Nishikori was dispatched by the 20-year-old De Minaur 6-2, 6-4, 2-6, 6-3. The Aussie, on his deepest Grand Slam run, will next face Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov or Polish lucky loser Kamil Majchrzak.
“This is where I feel like my game’s at. I want to be pushing second weeks of Grand Slams and putting myself out there. So very happy,” De Minaur said. “Hopefully I can just keep it rolling.”
It was the first victory over a top-10 foe in 12 tries for De Minaur, who squandered a two-set lead over 2014 US Open winner Marin Cilic in last year’s Open third round.
“I had a little bit of a thriller last year versus Cilic and was two sets to love up,” De Minaur said. “I was glad I could finally get the win.”
Reigning French Open champion Ashleigh Barty, the Aussie second seed, and Czech third seed Karolina Pliskova, chasing her first Grand Slam title, also reached the last 16.
Pliskova, the 2016 US Open runner-up, outlasted Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur 6-1, 4-6, 6-4 while Barty dispatched Greek 30th seed Maria Sakkari 7-5, 6-3.
“Physically it was quite a tough battle,” Pliskova said. “It was important to win so it doesn’t matter how I feel. So pleased to be through.”
Pliskova will play British 16th seed Johanna Konta for a quarter-final spot while Barty, a possible Williams quarter-final foe, next meets Chinese 18th seed Wang Qiang.
Barty and Pliskova are battling top-ranked defending champion Osaka to be world number one at the end of the Flushing Meadows fortnight.
Barty has the inside track because Osaka has so many points to defend. The Japanese 21-year-old must win the title to have any chance at staying on top while Pliskova must reach at least the semifinals.
Top-ranked defending champion Novak Djokovic, who has won four of the past five Slam titles and 16 overall, was set to play a night match against 111th-ranked American Denis Kudla, who has never beaten a top-10 rival in 10 tries.
The 32-year-old Serbian, a three-time US Open winner, has been no worse than a US Open semifinalist since a third-round exit in 2006.
Should Djokovic win, he will face three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka in the fourth round. The Swiss 23rd seed eliminated Italian lucky loser Paolo Lorenzi 6-4, 7-6 (11/9), 7-6 (7/4).


‘Loved and appreciated’ Bale starts as Spurs win, Celtic undone by Milan

Updated 23 October 2020

‘Loved and appreciated’ Bale starts as Spurs win, Celtic undone by Milan

PARIS: Gareth Bale said it felt good to be “loved and appreciated” after helping Tottenham to a 3-0 win over LASK of Austria in the Europa League on Thursday.
The Welsh international started his first match since his return from Real Madrid and played for an hour before Jose Mourinho gave him a break.
Bale had come on as a substitute last Sunday with Tottenham 3-0 up against West Ham before his team collapsed to give up a 3-3 draw.
“It is amazing to be back,” Bale told BT Sport on Thursday.
“It is a big reason why I play well and why I came back. You want to be loved and appreciated. I will give everything for this shirt.”
However, he admitted it will take time to find his feet.
“I am a bit stiff. It is like a mini pre-season for me and I am trying to get minutes into the legs,” he said.
Despite Bale starting, it was on-loan Carlos Vinicius who made an impressive debut in the Group J opener.
Vinicius started in place of the resting Harry Kane and he made goals in either half for Lucas Moura and Son Heung-min, while he would have also netted himself had Andres Andrade not scored an own goal.
Bale made that goal where Andrade put through his own net.
Leicester made the perfect start in Group G with a comfortable 3-0 win over Zorya Luhansk of Ukraine.
James Maddison, Harvey Barnes and Kelechi Iheanacho were on the scoresheet.
In Glasgow, Celtic struggled against Serie A leaders AC Milan who were 2-0 up at half-time thanks to goals from Rade Krunic and Brahim Diaz.
Mohamed Elyounoussi reduced the arrears after the break, but Jens Petter Hauge broke clear to secure Milan’s Group H 3-1 win in stoppage time.
Milan were so comfortable that they could afford to take off Zlatan Ibrahimovic just after the hour.
Earlier Thursday, Arsenal came from behind to down Rapid Vienna 2-1 and Rangers beat Standard Liege 2-0.
After a goalless first half Arsenal went behind when keeper Bernd Leno fluffed a clearance on a night he will want to forget.
Taxiarchis Fountas capitalized on Leno’s clanger, much to the joy of the 3,000 home fans allowed in to watch under coronavirus safety protocol, but the Gunners then turned the game around in four second half minutes.
David Luiz put them level with a deft glancing header off Nicolas Pepe’s free-kick, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang then tapping home to bag the three Group B points.
It was an eventful night for Mikel Arteta’s side.
Alongside eight yellow cards, there was an eye-catching display from Thomas Partey on his first start since his transfer deadline day move from Atletico Madrid.
A frustrated follower of the game from his London sofa was Mesut Ozil, who has been left out of both Arsenal’s Europa League and Premier League squad.
“When I can’t support on the pitch tonight, I will support in front of the TV in London.” tweeted Ozil.
The other Group B game was being played out in Dublin where Dundalk, only Ireland’s third ever representative in the group stage, were beaten 2-1 by Norwegians Molde.
In Belgium, Steven Gerrard’s Rangers took on Standard Liege fresh from their Old Firm derby win over Celtic which moved them four points clear in the Scottish Premiership last weekend.
James Tavernier scored from the spot after Noe Dussenne handled in the area to put them into a 19th minute lead.
Then three minutes into stoppage time Kemar Roofe produced a wonder goal from the halfway line, the ball flying over the head of bewildered keeper Arnaud Bodart.
Benfica had claimed the first goal of the night and they went on to beat Lech Poznan in Poland 4-2 in the other Group D game.
Elsewhere, Bayer Leverkusen ran riot 6-2 against French side Nice and Spanish side Granada, in their first ever European campaign, beat PSV Eindhoven 2-1.