Nadal seals Spain’s victory; Croatia, Japan triumph

Rafael Nadal after beating Pablo Cuevas. (AP)
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Updated 07 January 2020

Nadal seals Spain’s victory; Croatia, Japan triumph

  • Nadal beat Pablo Cuevas 6-2, 6-1 in Perth on Monday

BRISBANE: Weeks after leading Spain to a Davis Cup title, Rafael Nadal is doing his best to do it again at the the ATP Cup, the newest of the men’s international team competitions.

The top-ranked Nadal beat Pablo Cuevas 6-2, 6-1 in Perth on Monday to secure Spain’s win in the best-of-three encounter against Uruguay ahead of the doubles. Spain now have two wins from two starts in Group B and next faces unbeaten Japan to determine first place and automatic qualification for the playoffs in Sydney.

Roberto Bautista Agut was equally ruthless in getting Spain started when he beat unranked 19-year-old Franco Roncadelli 6-1, 6-2.

Nadal won his fourth title in the Davis Cup, the traditional men’s team competition, in November. He said he thrives in the team environment.

The six group winners and the two best second-place teams qualify for the quarterfinals.

Second-ranked Novak Djokovic gave Serbia a shot at a second victory when he extended his tour-level unbeaten streak against Gael Monfils to 16 wins with a 6-3, 6-2 victory in Brisbane. Benoit Paire had given France the lead with a 6-2, 5-7 (6), 6-4 win in his singles against Dusan Lajovic. The Group A match will now be decided by doubles.

In Sydney, Austria clinched victory over Argentina with wins in both singles matches. Fourth-ranked Dominic Thiem beat Diego Schwartzman 6-3, 7-6 (3) after Dennis Novak rallied from a slow start to beat Guido Pella 0-6, 6-4, 6-4.

Both countries are 1-1 in the Group E standings, which are led by unbeaten Croatia.

Novak, ranked No. 101, said a few pointers from Austria captain Thomas Muster helped calm him down after the first set.

“After the first set I went to a break with Thomas, and I came out and changed a little bit my game and fought back,” Novak said. “I think at the end I played really good tennis.”

Former US Open champion Marin Cilic had too much experience for No. 448-ranked Kacper Zuk, setting up Croatia’s victory over Poland with a 7-6 (8), 6-4 win. Cilic s was only able to convert one of his 13 break-point chances against Zuk.


‘Liverpool spirits are high’ despite virus lockdown

Jurgen Klopp
Updated 28 March 2020

‘Liverpool spirits are high’ despite virus lockdown

  • Klopp praised the efforts of Liverpool and other clubs in helping support more vulnerable members of the community during the current crisis

Jurgen Klopp says the mood at Liverpool is upbeat despite the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) lockdown, even admitting he has tried to copy Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s dance moves to keep himself occupied.
The Premier League leaders were on the verge of their first top-flight title for 30 years when English football was suspended earlier this month.
Klopp said his players’ spirits remained high despite the frustrations of having no football to play and praised the efforts of his backroom staff who are looking after the players’ fitness.
“We spoke a couple of times, we have a really intense, big, big group chat — the whole of Melwood (training ground) are in that,” he said, speaking to the club’s website by videolink from his home.
“The boys are really lively in that, the boys are just interested in what everybody is doing, comments on what everybody is doing — if Ox is on Instagram or whatever.”
Midfielder Oxlade-Chamberlain and his girlfriend, Little Mix singer Perrie Edwards, performed a dance routine, which she posted on social media.
Teammate James Milner played up to his “boring James Milner” tag by posting a video of himself cutting his grass with a ruler and scissors.
“I didn’t cut the grass but I tried the dance of Ox,” said Klopp. “Not as bad as you probably think. It’s very important in these times that we all show we take this situation seriously, but we are human beings.”

HIGHLIGHT

Jurgen Klopp praises the efforts of Liverpool and other clubs in helping support more vulnerable members of the community during the current crisis. He urges people to abide by the lockdown.

“If the boys do anything on Instagram, as long as it’s in a legal frame I’m overly happy about it — it just shows they are still cheeky and all that stuff,” he added.
Klopp praised the efforts of Liverpool and other clubs in helping support more vulnerable members of the community during the current crisis.
And he urged people to abide by the lockdown.
“The only way to get football back as soon as possible, if that’s what the people want, the more disciplined we are now the earlier we will get, piece by piece by piece, our life back,” Klopp said. “That’s how it is.”
“At one point we will play football again as well, 100 percent,” he added. “I couldn’t wish more for it because of a few really good reasons, how you can imagine. I can’t wait actually, but even I have to be disciplined and I try to be as much as I can.”