Monthly Archives: July 2019

Wozniacki hoping to be fit for Melbourne

Caroline Wozniacki will fly to Melbourne from Sydney on Wednesday morning as she battles to prove her fitness for next week’s Australian Open.


The world No.4 forfeited her first-round match in the Sydney International against the experienced Barbora Zahlavova-Strycova after injuring her wrist in the first set.

Wozniacki was attended to by the courtside trainer on three occasions in the first set but lost 6-4 to the 25th-ranked Czech before retiring in the second with the score locked at one-all

With less than a week until the opening grand slam of the year, the Dane said it was more important to get receive treatment and give her the best possible chance of being able to play at Melbourne Park.

“I felt it during one shot, I hit it against the wind and hit it late and I felt it in my wrist,” Wozniacki said.

“I’ve had it before so I kind of know what it is.

“It’s painful every time I had to hit a backhand and I didn’t want make it worse before Melbourne, so I’m just going to try and get some treatment on it and try and get ready for next week.”

Wozniacki is confident she will be fit to play, but said the injury was a new one and the treatment from the trainer made no real difference to her discomfort.

“She taped it up and it didn’t really make a difference taped or not taped,” she said.

“I just felt like it was getting a little worse, so I felt like I wasn’t going to win the match without being able to hit like a proper backhand.

“I can only make it worse, and that’s really too negative. I thought it was better to get treatment and see what’s happening.

“I just need to take it day by day and see how it feels. Hopefully it’ll take a couple of days and it’ll be fine.”

Matosevic crashes out in Sydney

Australia’s Marinko Matosevic has hit out at Sydney International organisers after he crashed out in the first round to Italian world No.


51 Simone Bolelli in under at hour on Ken Rosewall Arena.

The 29-year-old, who reached the quarter-finals here last year, looked completely out of sorts as Bolelli eased to a 6-3 6-2 victory against the 80th-ranked Victorian on Monday.

A bitterly disappointed Matosevic was knocked out in the first round in Brisbane last week and then flew to Perth to play in the Hopman Cup and only arrived in Sydney late on Saturday night and asked to play his match on Tuesday.

With most of Sunday washed out with rain, Matosevic claimed he had no time to prepare until he walked out on court.

“My preparation was my warm-up today for my match,” he said.

“I was surprised I was playing today. I thought I would get a Tuesday start.

“I thought I was going to get one. I was told before I went to Hopman Cup they would ask for me.

“I wasn’t able to practice yesterday so it was a tough, tough preparation.”

On a quiet day in the men’s competition, fifth-seeded Argentine Leonardo Mayer beat Germany’s Benjamin Becker 7-6 6-2, with the sixth-seeded Uruguayan Pablo Cuevas seeing off Spain’s Nicolas Almagro 7-6 6-4.

Australia pair Bernard Tomic and Nick Kyrgios are in action on Tuesday, as is former US Open champion Juan Martin Del Potro, who plays his first match in 11 months.

Del Potro faces Ukrainian Sergiy Stakhovsky in the first match on Ken Rosewall Arena, with Tomic up against Kazakh qualifier Mikhail Kukushkin.

Wimbledon quarter-finalist Kyrgios faces Poland’s Jerzy Janowicz in the evening session.

Cahill to fill in as Australia captain

Australia coach Ange Postecoglou said the 35-year-old striker would lead the side in Tuesday’s Group A clash with Oman after regular skipper Mile Jedinak was ruled out with an ankle injury.


Cahill captained Australia once before at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and said it was an honour to be given the job a second time.

“I don’t really want to put too much emphasis on it because Mile is our captain,” said Cahill.

“It’s a massive honour and something that is great in my career to have, but it’s a great responsibility that I will make sure I deliver in the right way.”

Australia won their opening match 4-1 against Kuwait in Melbourne and know a victory over Oman in Sydney would likely secure their place in the quarter-finals.

But Postecoglou said it was also important that the players remain fresh for the campaign so he planned to ring in several changes.

“We’ve learnt pretty clearly at the World Cup, by the third game against Spain we were pretty spent as a group because we relied on a core group of players,” Postecoglou said.

“We don’t want to fall into the same trap. We want to do well in all three games and tomorrow night is a very, very important game for us.”

Australia are overwhelming favourites to beat Oman, who lost their opening match 1-0 to South Korea, but Cahill said the Socceroos were expecting a tough encounter.

“We know that they’ve got a great squad and a coach that has been with them for a very long time,” Cahill said.

“So the familiarity for their team and of their players playing together, they’ve got the upper hand there.

“When it comes to us, we just have to focus on ourselves. We’ve trained well, we’ve had a great start. We know this is going to be a difficult opposition.”

(Reporting by Julian Linden in Brisbane. Editing by Patrick Johnston)

Van Gaal no closer to title challenge than Moyes was

United, who spent 150 million pounds on new players in the summer, failed to get a shot on target at home for the first time in more than five years as they went down to a 1-0 defeat to the Saints who had not won at Old Trafford since 1988.


The defeat leaves United with 37 points from 21 matches, exactly the same total they had this time last year when David Moyes was manager, and they have scored one goal less. Moyes was sacked in April after less than a season in charge.

Van Gaal, who left Colombian striker Radamel Falcao out of the squad raising doubts about his future at the club, still had Angel Di Maria, Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney in attack and Juan Mata went close twice to scoring late in the game.

An additional thorn in Van Gaal’s side on Sunday was that Southampton are coached by fellow Dutchman Ronald Koeman and the one-time Ajax Amsterdam colleagues have not been friends since Van Gaal was forced out of the club by Koeman in 2004.

The two gave each other a cursory handshake after the game which Van Gaal said Southampton were lucky to win.

“We didn’t create so much but we dominated the game. They came for a draw and they go away with a victory, that is disappointing,” he added.

“We played a much better game than Southampton. They were lucky to score out of nothing.”

United slipped to fourth, one place behind Southampton, and while there are still questions over how much progress they have made since Moyes left, there are also questions over the future of Falcao at United.

United must pay 46.0 million pounds to AS Monaco if the striker is to remain at United permanently when his loan deal ends in the summer.

Van Gaal said he opted to include teenager James Wilson on the bench rather than Falcao because of the England Under-20 international’s pace.

“Falcao wasn’t injured, he was just not selected in the squad,” Van Gaal said.

However, when Van Persie came off injured after 61 minutes, Ander Herrera replaced him, not Wilson.

Eight minutes later United went behind with the goal that sealed Saints victory.

(Editing by Sudipto Ganguly)

Palestinians celebrate Asian Cup breakthrough

Hundreds of fans, including women and children, gathered at a large venue in Gaza City to watch their national team on a giant screen take on the title holders of Asia’s biggest football tournament play in a country that does not recognise them.


An eighth minute goal for Japan, scored by Yasuhito Endo, did not dampen spirits as drums continued to be heard, while fans called out the names of players and their team ‘Palestine’.

Goalkeeper Ramzi Saleh, who said before kick-off he wanted to use the tournament to promote his homeland, and the skilful forward Ashraf Al-Fawaghra received the bulk of the cheers.

Palestinians call their team ‘Al-Fedayi’ which means the one who sacrifices life for the sake of the homeland.

Japan predictably added further goals but still the party atmosphere flowed, with those in Gaza seeing Palestinian flags being waved by singing supporters inside the Newcastle Stadium.

“Regardless of the result we are very proud of our team, our players, who are flying the flag of Palestine in such international contests,” said Ali Abu Khalil, a high school student.

“Today we do not have the capability and the resources to compete but one day we will gain the way and the talent to win contests,” said the boy, wearing a Palestinian flag on his shoulders and surrounded by a group of friends.

Youth danced to the rhythm of the drum and national music in a large covered hall, the smoke of cigarettes clouding over those in attendance.

In a place torn apart by political differences, the Gaza Strip, home to 1.8 million people, sport represents a common source of entertainment and cafes get usually packed of people during football matches, especially the English Premier League and Spanish La Liga.


The national team are also keenly followed and have made great strides since being recognised by FIFA in 1998.

Last year they won the AFC Challenge Cup to qualify for the 16-team Asian Cup in Australia despite difficulties in arranging training camps, matches or even gathering their best players.

The Palestinians say that Israel, which controls coming and going from Gaza and the West Bank, has been restricting the movement of Palestinian athletes and have urged FIFA to step in and give out sanctions.

Israel cites security concerns for restricting movement between Gaza, controlled by the Islamist group Hamas, and the West Bank, where the Palestinians have limited self-rule.

Abdel-Salam Haniyeh, member of the Palestinian Higher Council of Youth and Sports, watched on with the hundreds in Gaza as the team, ranked 115th in the world by FIFA, fought on.

“We have lost to Japan, the strongest team in Asia and one of the world’s best football teams therefore, we can’t blame our brave players,” Haniyeh told Reuters.

“Our participation was not only of sport nature, it has also a political nature, the playing of the national anthem of Palestine and flying of the Palestinian flag is a source of pride for every Palestinian.”

Next up is a match against Jordan in Melbourne on Friday.

(Writing by Patrick Johnston; editing by Sudipto Ganguly)