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How the Storm overcame rotten luck to reach NRL grand final

ABC Sport - Tue, 27/09/2016 - 4:56pm

Grand finalist Melbourne boasts some of the NRL's biggest names, but resembled a spare-parts team for large chunks of 2016 thanks to a freak injury run.

Gallen says Cronulla winning NRL title would be bigger than Origin

ABC Sport - Tue, 27/09/2016 - 3:37pm

Would winning the NRL grand final with the Cronulla Sharks be a bigger deal for Paul Gallen than State of Origin glory? In a word: yes.

Sturt's SANFL victory celebrated as Double Blues colours adorn brewery

ABC Sport - Tue, 27/09/2016 - 1:52pm

Sturt Football Club's 2016 SANFL grand final win is celebrated as its colours are unveiled atop the West End Brewery chimney in Adelaide.

Baseball hero Fernandez remembered after tragic boating accident

ABC Sport - Tue, 27/09/2016 - 1:16pm

The baseball world has paid tribute to fan favourite Jose Fernandez, who was killed in a boating accident in Miami. If you haven't heard of him before, it's about time you did.

Frankston FC shocked at move to terminate VFL licence

ABC Sport - Tue, 27/09/2016 - 12:32pm

The Frankston Football Club, one of the few remaining non-AFL affiliated teams in Victoria's state competition, is left stunned at the looming decision by the league to terminate its licence.

Bulldogs '54 premiership hero hopeful the flag wait is over

ABC Sport - Tue, 27/09/2016 - 12:25pm

Herb Henderson played in the Bulldogs' only premiership triumph in 1954 and he is hoping the club will break its 62-year flag drought this Saturday.

Fans lend advice to Sydney Swans ahead of grand final

ABC Sport - Tue, 27/09/2016 - 12:21pm

The Sydney Swans kick-start their grand final week with the cheers of dedicated fans spurring them on.

Ben Simmons bulks up for NBA debut

ABC Sport - Tue, 27/09/2016 - 10:50am

Matthew Dellavedova, Andrew Bogut and Australia's other Olympians will be aiming to shake off their Rio disappointment when the NBA season starts.

Tiafoe Eyes Top 100 Finish To 2016

ATP news - Tue, 27/09/2016 - 10:17am
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After an outstanding 2016 season, #NextGen star Frances Tiafoe is looking to put the final pieces of the puzzle together to crack the Top 100 of the Emirates ATP Rankings by the end of the year.

The 18 year old American has climbed more than 50 spots to reach his current career-high Emirates ATP Ranking of No. 121. He won his first ATP Challenger Tour title last month at the $100,000 event in Granby, Canada, and finished runner-up at three Challenger events on U.S. soil. With the exception of Granby, all five of his other Challenger finals have come in the U.S.

Tiafoe is hoping for a repeat moment at this week’s $100,000 Challenger in Tiburon, California, where he is the fourth seed. He plays fellow American Alexander Sarkissian in the opening round.

“I don’t know why, but I always find myself playing so well in the U.S. It’s almost too easy here,” said Tiafoe. “You know everyone who works at the tournaments and know your way around. I feel more comfortable at them and that’s when I play my best tennis. But I’m also trying to change that and start to feel more comfortable playing abroad as well.”

The American has emerged as a promising standout on the ATP Challenger Tour, but introduced himself to a broader audience at this year’s US Open. Competing against John Isner in the opening round, he held two match points before falling in a fifth-set tie-break in front of a packed house on the Grandstand.

“It was an atmosphere I’ve never experienced before. The crowd was going absolutely wild,” said Tiafoe. “To be able to play like that on a court like that against one of the best Americans gave me a tremendous amount of confidence. I just want to run with that now.”

But while Tiafoe played without pressure last season, he’s now being touted as one of the favourites to win at every Challenger he plays. Although he admitted it took getting used to initially, being a top contender has quickly become a natural role for someone who thrives on playing big matches in front of packed crowds.

“It’s a different feeling. This summer was the first time I’ve been seeded in Challengers and now I’m supposed to be going deep every time I play,” said Tiafoe. “But at the same time, that means I’m playing well and getting closer to the Top 100. This is what I want.”

How the West was won

ABC Sport - Tue, 27/09/2016 - 9:38am

When people talk about the spirit and sense of community around the Western Bulldogs AFL side, you need to believe it, writes ABC's Michael Rowland.

Players Excited For Inaugural Chengdu Open In China

ATP news - Tue, 27/09/2016 - 9:12am
Nick Kyrgios, Kevin Anderson, Grigor Dimitrov and Feliciano Lopez are all excited for the inaugural Chengdu Open in China. Video courtesy of Chengdu Open.

Springboks' Lambie ready for Wallabies after three months of headaches

ABC Sport - Tue, 27/09/2016 - 7:30am

South African fly half Pat Lambie ready to return to action against Wallabies after on-field knockout led to three months of migraines.

Dangerfield driven to do better after Brownlow-winning season

ABC Sport - Tue, 27/09/2016 - 6:40am

Brownlow Medal winner Patrick Dangerfield says he has no doubt he can improve on a record-breaking performance for Geelong in season 2016.

Dangerfield's emotional Brownlow tribute to Cats' Paul Couch

ABC Sport - Tue, 27/09/2016 - 6:40am

AFL Brownlow Medal winner Patrick Dangerfield pays tribute to Geelong club great and fellow medallist Paul Couch after polling a record 35 votes.

All-female ground crew becomes first to win international air races event

ABC Sport - Tue, 27/09/2016 - 6:28am

Three Australian pilots are hoping their victory in a ground crew event at the Reno National Championship Air Races in Nevada will encourage more women to become pilots.

Ruud, #NextGen Khachanov Play Tourist In Chengdu

ATP news - Tue, 27/09/2016 - 6:07am
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Russian #NextGen star Karen Khachanov and 17-year-old Norwegian Casper Ruud, in China for the Chengdu Open, visited one of Chengdu’s unique attractions, Kuanzhai Alley, which translates as Wide and Narrow Alley, on Monday.

Located in one of the oldest parts of Chengdu, dating back to the Qing Dynasty, Kuanzhai Alley offers a unique glimpse into the architecture at the time. The players tried some of the city’s most popular snacks, while being entertained by a traditionally attired Sichuan opera performer.

“The culture here is very unusual and it is very interesting to see,” said Khachanov. “I’m very excited to be here. I like it.”

“The architecture here is very nice and very different from anywhere else,” said Ruud. “It’s nice.”

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Tea For Two In Chengdu

On Sunday morning, ATP World Tour players Kevin Anderson of South Africa and John Millman of Australia also took time to experience the Chengdu culture. The two visited the historic Wenshu Monastery, located in the centre of Chengdu city.

They received a crash course in the art of “Chang Zui Hu”, the ancient Chengdu practice of pouring tea out through an extremely long spout. Combining martial arts with technical ability, this unique practice was created as a form of entertainment in local tea houses many hundreds of years ago. “It was really cool,” said Anderson. “Just the whole architecture and this whole place is incredible.”

“I enjoyed it. It's pretty special to be able to experience the cultures of such an old country like China,” said Millman. “It was a lot of fun. It was something different. I'm always up for new, exciting experiences.”

This is the first year of the Chengdu Open, an ATP World Tour 250 level tournament.

 

Monaco, Schwartzman Win Chengdu Openers

ATP news - Tue, 27/09/2016 - 5:38am

Former World No. 10 Juan Monaco required 66 minutes to beat qualifier Hiroki Moriya 6-1, 6-2 on Monday at the Chengdu Open. Monaco will next face fourth seed Feliciano Lopez, whom he beat in the Houston semi-finals en route to his ninth ATP World Tour title (d. Sock) in April.

Diego Schwartzman, who lifted his first ATP World Tour trophy in Istanbul (d. Dimitrov) earlier this year, knocked out Rajeev Ram 6-4, 7-5 in 87 minutes. He awaits the winner of eighth seed Paolo Lorenzi or John Millman. “The first match is always tough for the players,” said Schwartzman. “I feel great, so it’s good to win… I try to improve every week.”

In doubles, fourth seeds Pablo Carreno Busta and Mariusz Fyrstenberg defeated wild card Yan Bai and Di Wu 6-2, 6-7(2), 10-6 in 89 minutes, while Nicholas Monroe and Artem Sitak lost just seven of their first service points in a 6-3, 1-6, 10-4 victory over Federico Delbonis and Lorenzi in 63 minutes.

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DAY 2 PREVIEW: Di Wu etched his name in the record books on 31 January when he upset top seed and current World No. 54 Kyle Edmund in Maui, USA to become the first ATP Challenger Tour singles champion from China. The Chinese No. 2 hopes to break through again at the Chengdu Open on Tuesday when he meets Konstantin Kravchuk. Wu is 0-13 lifetime in ATP World Tour and Grand Slam main draw matches, coming closest to his first victory when he held a match point against Marin Cilic at the 2015 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament in Shanghai. All 17 of Wu’s tour-level wins have come as a member of China’s Davis Cup team.

Also in first-round action is Czech qualifier Radek Stepanek, who turns 38 on 27 November. By defeating Japanese players Takuto Niki and Go Soeda over the weekend, Stepanek qualified for the eighth time on tour in 2016, tying him for the lead with Shenzhen Open qualifier Mischa Zverev. Stepanek won his main draw opener at five of the previous seven tournaments in which he qualified. His opponent Tuesday is Yen-Hsun Lu, who extended his own record with his 23rd and 24th Challenger titles at grass-court events in June.

Among the other matches scheduled for Stadium Court is the first meeting between World No. 36 Marcos Baghdatis and World No. 39 Carreno Busta. Both are coming off strong showings at the US Open, where Baghdatis reached the fourth round of a major for the first time since 2009. As for Carreno Busta, the 2013 ATP World Tour Most Improved Player of the Year is again a contender for the award. He’s reached the first seven tour-level finals of his career in 2016 (3 singles, 4 doubles), highlighted by the Winston-Salem Open singles title and a US Open runner-up finish with countryman Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in doubles.

Taking to the outer courts are No. 5 seed Albert Ramos-Vinolas, Lorenzi and 17-year-old wild card Casper Ruud. Ramos-Vinolas (Bastad) and Lorenzi (Kitzbuhel) won the first tour-level titles of their respective careers in July, while Ruud is making his ATP World Tour debut after winning the Seville, ESP Challenger title on 10 September. In doubles, No. 1 seeds Raven Klaasen and Rajeev Ram continue their quest for qualification at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals against Yecong He and Fajing Sun.

Fognini Advances In Shenzhen

ATP news - Tue, 27/09/2016 - 4:39am

Fabio Fognini recorded his 20th match win of the season on Monday when the seventh seed defeated Dudi Sela 6-4, 6-1 in 78 minutes on his debut at the Shenzhen Open. He’ll next face qualifier Mischa Zverev who struck eight aces and won 96 per cent of his first service points to oust wild card Zhe Li. Zverev leads Fognini 2-1 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series.

Andrew Whittington saved four match points in the second set tie-break to force a third set and beat fellow qualifier Luca Vanni 2-6, 7-6(10), 6-2 in two hours and 20 minutes. The 23-year-old Australian, making his ATP World Tour main draw debut, will next face third seed Richard Gasquet in the second round.

In doubles, Jonathan Erlich and Santiago Gonzalez saved one match point at 8/9 in the Match Tie-break to knock out Lukas Rosol and Jiri Vesely 6-7(5), 6-2, 11-9 in one hour and 46 minutes.

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DAY 2 PREVIEW: The No. 1 Chinese player in the Emirates ATP Rankings comes home on Tuesday for his first ATP World Tour match of 2016. Ze Zhang is 4-0 on tour this season, with all four wins coming in Davis Cup Group I. The 26 year old from Nanjing is in a unique position against Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia, whom he defeated at a Challenger event in Chengdu last month. For just the second time in 20 ATP and Grand Slam main draw matches, Zhang is ranked higher than his opponent. Tipsarevic, a former World No. 8, is 45 spots below Zhang at No. 224 after missing seven of the past 12 months with foot and knee injuries.

Also in first-round action on Centre Court is No. 6 seed Benoit Paire. The Frenchman enjoyed a breakout season in 2015, winning five titles in eight finals across the ATP World Tour, ATP Challenger Tour and ITF Futures Circuit. Playing exclusively at tour-level events in 2016, Paire has yet to reach a final and fallen from a career-high No. 18 on 11 January to No. 38 this week. Paire has suffered five losses this season to players ranked outside of the Top 100. His opponent on Tuesday is 103rd-ranked Nikoloz Basilashvili.

Play begins on Centre Court with 2015 Shenzhen Open runner-up Guillermo Garcia-Lopez taking on American qualifier Ryan Harrison. Garcia-Lopez has not reached a singles final since falling to Tomas Berdych here last year, but he did play in back-to-back doubles finals earlier this season. He won the Winston-Salem Open title with Henri Kontinen and fell in the US Open final with fellow Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta.

Among the players competing on the outer courts are Pablo Andujar of Spain and 19 year old Akira Santillan of Japan. Andujar is appearing at his first ATP event since undergoing right elbow surgery on 17 March, while Santillan will be playing the second tour-level match of his career. The wild card fell to Jan-Lennard Struff at Kitzbuhel on 19 July. In doubles, No. 1 seeds Treat Huey and Max Mirnyi continue their quest for qualification at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals against Fognini and Robert Lindstedt.

Pouille Tops Thiem In Metz For First ATP Title

ATP news - Tue, 27/09/2016 - 4:05am

Watch Frenchman Lucas Pouille top Dominic Thiem in Metz for his first ATP World Tour crown. Photo. A. Briand - Moselle Open.

Zverev Beats Wawrinka In St. Pete For Maiden ATP Title

ATP news - Tue, 27/09/2016 - 3:54am

Watch highlights of 19 year old Sascha Zverev beating Stan Wawrinka at the St. Petersburg Open for his maiden ATP World Tour title. Photo: St. Petersburg Open.