18 Mar 2019

Today's sports news: What you need to know

12:52 pm on 18 March 2019

Latest - The young Canadian tennis player who rose to prominence in Auckland at the start of this year has produced another stunning result.

Canadian tennis player Bianca Andreescu.

Canadian tennis player Bianca Andreescu. Photo: Photosport/Icon Sportswire

Playing as a wildcard, 18-year-old Bianca Andreescu has upset eighth-seeded Angelique Kerber 6-4 3-6 6-4 win her first WTA title at the BNP Paribas Open.

Andreescu overcame a troublesome right shoulder and used creative and aggressive shotmaking to defeat the German on a hot and sunny day in the Southern California desert.

The teenager, who finished runner-up to Germany's Julia Goerges at Auckland's ASB Classic, dropped her racket and fell on her back when Kerber hit a backhand into the net to deliver the tournament wildcard the biggest win of her young career.

Ranked 152 prior to her shock run at New Zealand's lone WTA event, Andreescu is projected to rise to 24th in the world with her win in California.

McIlroy wins Players Championship

Rory McIlroy has won the Players Championship, beating Jim Furyk by one shot after a thrilling final round at Sawgrass in Florida.

Rory McIlroy at the Players Championship 2019.


The Northern Irishman's two-under-par 70 gave him victory on 16 under par and he pockets 3.2 million dollars.

It is his first win in a year and sets him up for an attempt at the career Grand Slam at the Masters next month.

McIlroy, 29, won the US Open in 2011, US PGA Championship in 2012 and 2014 and The Open in 2014 but is yet to win the Masters, which starts on 11 April.

He has finished in the top six of all his tournaments in 2019.

The Players Championship is known unofficially as the 'fifth major' and is the most prestigious of the regular PGA Tour events.

Overnight leader Jon Rahm fell away in the closing stages and finished on 11 under after a 76.

Liverpool back on top

James Milner scored a late penalty as Liverpool snatched a 2-1 win at relegation-threatened Fulham to go back to the top of the English Premier football League.

Philippe Coutinho of Liverpool celebrates with teammate James Milner.

Philippe Coutinho of Liverpool celebrates with teammate James Milner. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Sadio Mane put Liverpool in front in the first half but former Liverpool winger Ryan Babel equalised on 74 minutes after a mix-up between Virgil van Dijk and goalkeeper Alisson.

But Mane was held back by Fulham goalkeeper Sergio Rico and Milner made no mistake from the spot nine minutes from time.

The result put Liverpool two points clear of Manchester City, though City have played a game less, while Fulham remain second-bottom, 13 points from safety with seven games to go.

Meanwhile, Chelsea's top-four hopes suffered a blow as they were beaten 2-0 at Everton.

Chelsea remain sixth, three points behind Arsenal in fourth, while Everton moved up one place to 11th after their first win over a top-six side in more than two years.

Brighton into FA Cup semi-finals

Favourites Manchester City will play Brighton in the English FA Cup semi-finals at Wembley Stadium.

City came from two goals down to defeat Championship side Swansea 3-2 yesterday, and Brighton beat Millwall on penalties this morning.

Watford, runners-up in 1984, will play four-time winners Wolves, in their first semi-final since 1998, in the other all-Premier League tie.

Both matches will be played on the weekend of 6-7 April.

Top ten finish for Bennett

The Nelson cyclist George Bennett has finished sixth in the Paris-Nice tour in France.

George Bennett.


Colombian Egan Bernal of Team Sky won the tour.

Bennett, who was 14th on the eighth and final stage, finished two minutes 20 behind Bernal.

Good start to WEC season for Hartley

The New Zealand driver Brendon Hartley made the podium on his return to the World Endurance Championship.

The former F1 driver helped his Russian SMP team to third in the Sebring round in Florida.

Hartley, a former WEC Champion was driving with Mikhail Aleshin and Vitaly Petrov.

Hartley is driving a number of Endurance events this year as well as undertaking development work on the Porsche Formula E programme and he has a role as a simulator driver for the Ferrari F1 team.

McLaughlin still leads Supercars

It was an action packed weekend for the New Zealand driver Scott McLaughlin, and he leaves the Melbourne round of the Supecars series with his series lead intact.

Scott McLaughlin (right) on the podium after his final race win in Melbourne.

Scott McLaughlin (right) on the podium after his final race win in Melbourne. Photo: Photosport

McLaughlin bounced back from his Saturday evening non-start with victory in the final race.

McLaughlin's perfect record in 2019 came to an end when he failed to start Race 5 after a collision with Cameron Waters on their way to the grid.

Mostert won that race and started the final from pole, but had to settle for second behind McLaughlin.

The news wasn't so good for fellow New Zealanders Shane van Gisbergen and Richie Stanaway.

Van Gisbergen arrived second in the championship but recorded a retirement, 10th and was 22nd twice to slump out of the series' top 10.

Officials disqualified Stanaway and smacked him with a $10,000 fine for dangerous driving on Saturday.

McLaughlin leads the championship with 500 points, while Jamie Whincup is second on 469 points.

The next round is in Tasmania next month.

Steel win again

The Southern Steel have kept their perfect home record intact with a decisive 70-52 win over the Tactix in their ANZ Netball Premiership game in Invercargill.

Southern Steel's Te Paea Selby Rickett.

Southern Steel's Te Paea Selby Rickett. Photo: Photosport

It was the 13th successive win for the Steel at home as the home side reinforced their credentials at the top of the table.

The Tactix had their moments but could not match the overall accuracy and finishing of the defending champions, who after absorbing some early pressure produced a top-class outing to shine across all areas of the court.

Also on Sunday the Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic beat the Northern Mystics 42-34.

The Pulse play the Northern Stars tonight.

Another big win for Phoenix

Wellington have underlined their attacking quality for a second week to beat Western Sydney 3-1 and provide further evidence they are A-League title dark horses.

Wellington Pheonix's Roy Krishna celebrates his goal during the A-League 2018/19 game between Wellington Phoenix vs Western Sydney Wanderers.


A week after their 8-2 rout of Central Coast, the Phoenix had too much quality in their front line for the Wanderers, whose late-season bid for a finals spot appears over.

The goal celebrations after all three of their first-half goals were muted, with Roy Krishna setting the tone when he scored the opener from a tight angle in the 12th minute.

The Fijian striker, who is married to a devout muslim, dropped to a Sajdah prayer position to pay tribute to the 50 dead victims of a gunman's horrific attack on two mosques on Friday.

Krishna had tweeted earlier in the day it was "Probably one of the most difficult days for us", before leading the line impressively and notching his league-leading 15th goal of the season.

The night ended on a low note for Krishna who was sent off following two quickfire yellow cards for similar offences, when raising his arm in a challenge.

Mandi and David Williams scored the other goals.

The Phoenix cement their fourth position with five rounds remaining, sitting eight points clear of seventh-placed Newcastle to be within touching distance of a first finals berth in four seasons.

Black Sticks women beat Australia

Sharpshooter Olivia Merry scored twice to give the New Zealand women's hockey team a 3-1 win over Australia in their Pro-League gfamen in Sydney.

Merry took her tournament-leading tally to eight goals and hoped the victory would go some way to boosting spirits back home.

"I'm from Christchurch and we're all devastated," she said of the attack that has so far claimed 50 lives.

"My heart goes out to all those people affected by it. We really appreciated the minute's silence before the game.

"We came out firing from the get-go and it was a good team performance."

The Black Sticks women are fifth in the standings with four wins from eight games.

The New Zealand men were thumped 5-1 by Australia and stay bottom of the standings without a win from sevens games.