11 Nov 2019

Today's sports news: what you need to know

7:51 pm on 11 November 2019

Latest - Cycling New Zealand will welcome back some highly credentialled performers amongst a powerful team to contest the highly anticipated UCI Track World Cup in Cambridge next month.

The Cambridge event, from 6-8 December, is the fourth of six world cups that will determine qualification for the world championships and secure crucial ranking places for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

The national team will welcome back 2013 omnium world champion Aaron Gate and 2015 team pursuit world champion Dylan Kennett in the male endurance squad for Cambridge, with Gate also competing in the Brisbane event the week after New Zealand.

The female endurance squad welcomes back three-time team pursuit world medallist Jaime Nielsen, a double Olympian, after the birth of her daughter, set to compete in Cambridge and Brisbane.

It is expected that a number of the major European nations will come in force for the Cambridge event with neighbours Australia, one of the sport's super-powers, believed to be targeting the New Zealand event.

Liverpool win increases lead in EPL

Liverpool opened up an eight-point lead at the top of the Premier League with an emphatic and hugely impressive 3-1 win over defending champions Manchester City at Anfield.

Fabinho of Liverpool celebrates scoring the opening goaL.

Liverpool's Fabinho celebrates scoring the opening goal. Photo: Photosport

The victory leaves unbeaten Liverpool on 34 points from 12 games, eight ahead of Leicester City and Chelsea, and nine in front of Pep Guardiola's fourth-placed City.

Liverpool grabbed a sixth-minute lead with a thundering drive from Brazilian Fabinho, who pounced on a clearance from Ilkay Gundogan and blasted past Claudio Bravo from over 20 metres out.

City pushed forward in response and Raheem Sterling missed a close-range header, but Liverpool struck again in the 13th minute when Andy Robertson crossed from the left and Mohamed Salah nodded the bouncing ball past Bravo to make it 2-0.

City's third defeat of the season look assured when Liverpool made it 3-0 six minutes after the interval as Jordan Henderson worked space for a cross on the right flank and Sadio Mane stooped to head home at the back post.

Bernardo Silva pulled a goal back for City in the 78th minute, drilling home a low cross from Angelino and the visitors enjoyed some late pressure but Liverpool held firm.

- Reuters

Football Ferns coach mulls Olympic selections

The Football Ferns have signed off on their year with a 3-0 loss to Canada, leaving coach Tom Sermanni with plenty to ponder as he looks to plot a successful campaign at the Olympic Games next year in Tokyo.

New Zealand Football Ferns Coach, Tom Sermanni.

Tom Sermanni Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Having put in an outstanding display but coming up empty handed in a 2-0 loss to hosts China several days earlier, the Ferns took on Canada - who they were beaten 2-0 by at the FIFA Women's World Cup in June - in the third place play-off of a four-team invitational tournament in Yongchuan, Chongching City.

But they were not able to exact any revenge with the classy North Americans running out deserved winners after Christine Sinclair's first-half header was followed by a quick-fire Janine Beckie double mid-way through the second half.

"Ultimately, we were just beaten by a team that had better quality and were better than us physically," Sermanni said.

Reflecting on the two matches in China, Sermanni was pleased to have run the rule over certain players with his Olympic selections in mind.

"That's what we wanted to do on this tour - we wanted to see what players could do at this level. We're fairly limited in the amount of times we can do that so it's not easy for players to suddenly get thrown in there and try to make an impression. But it's been invaluable to us and I'm sure it has been for those players as well," he said.

"We've got a really open mind about who we pick for the Olympics and it's about players stepping up and performing to make sure they're picked."

Venus off to winning start

New Zealand's Michael Venus and his South African partner Raven Klaasen are off to the best possible start at the ATP Finals in London.

11th July 2019 - Tennis - Wimbledon (Day 10) - Michael Venus (NZL) celebrates as he and his partner Raven Klaasen (RSA) win a point against Juan Sebastian Cabal (COL) and Robert Farah (COL) during their Gentlemen's Doubles Semi Final match - Photo: Simon Stacpoole / Offside.

Michael Venus Photo: Photosport

The fifth seeds at the tournament featuring the top eight doubles pairs and top eight singles players from the ATP season, have beaten fourth seeds Britain's Joe Salisbury and American Rajeev Ram 6-3 6-4 in 1 hour 14 in their opening round robin match.

"It was one of those days where we really worked well together in sync and capitalised on our opportunities. The court is pretty quick, so you really have to stay focused and we did a great job with it today." Venus said.

It is Venus and Klaasen's second appearance at the season ending ATP Finals having bowed out after round robin last year.

Venus and Klaasen face further round robin matches this week against second seeds Lukas Kubot and Marcelo Melo and eighth seeds Ivan Dodig and Filip Polasek with the top two teams from each group advancing to the semi-finals.

Chahar posts best T20 figures

India seamer Deepak Chahar took a hat-trick and posted the best bowling figures in Twenty20 internationals to guide the hosts to a series clinching 30-run win against Bangladesh in the third and final match at Nagpur on Sunday.

India posted 174-5 in their 20 overs after Bangladesh won the toss and chose to bowl.

In reply, Bangladesh lost Liton Das and Soumya Sarkar in successive deliveries to Chahar early to get off to a false start in their chase and were finally all out for 144 to go down 2-1 in the series.

Chahar then dismissed Shafiul Islam on the last delivery of his third over and returned in his final one to send back Mustafizur Rahman and Aminul Islam to complete his hat-trick and finish with figures of six wickets for seven runs off 3.2 overs.

His figures broke Sri Lanka spinner Ajantha Mendis' mark of 6-8 against Zimbabwe in 2012 as the best bowling figures in the shortest format of the game.

- Reuters

Coll into third round of world squash champs

New Zealand's Paul Coll is through to the third round of the PSA Men's World Squash Championship after defeating Spain's Borja Golan at the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex in Doha, Qatar.

Paul Coll

Paul Coll Photo: PSA World Tour 2019

Currently at world No.5, Coll took the first game after a faltering start, but then found his rhythm and eventually won it 11-7.

However he came out firing in the second, reeling off five straight points to which Golan had no response.

The third was tighter, but Coll was able to win the match in straight games with a scoreline of 11-7, 11-4, 11-8 in 40 minutes, booking his place in the last 16 of the tournament.

"I feel very happy. He came out like a cut-snake in that first game, he was very attacking and playing at a high intensity and it caught me off guard a little bit. I was a bit unsettled in those early rallies," Coll admitted.

Coll now plays 12th seeded Egyptian, Omar Mosaad on Wednesday morning for a place in the quarter-finals.

Muted celebrations for McLaughlin

Ford driver Scott McLaughlin won't let another Bathurst controversy tarnish his back-to-back Supercars championship success.

Scott McLaughlin

Scott McLaughlin Photo: Photosport

The DJR Team Penske star secured consecutive titles at Sunday's Sandown 500, won by Red Bull Holden Racing Team duo Jamie Whincup and Craig Lowndes.

Starting from last place on the grid after being penalised for a breach of engine regulations during qualifying and the top 10 shootout at last month's Bathurst 1000, McLaughlin came home ninth.

That result means he has an unassailable 550-point lead heading into the season finale later this month at Newcastle.

Despite the success, celebrations were kept to a minimum by McLaughlin and his team after the earlier news about the Bathurst breach.

"I'm proud of what we've done. I'm proud of winning Bathurst and I'm proud of winning the championship, don't get me wrong," McLaughlin said.

"Off track, it's just been political and, unfortunately for the sport, it's getting like that and it has been like that all year. We're just going to have to push on and fight them off."

Read the full story here.


Penalty gives Phoenix first point

Melbourne Victory's stuttering start to the A-League season has continued, with Marco Kurz's side scrapping out a 1-1 draw with Wellington Phoenix at AAMI Park.

Ulises Davila's penalty handed Wellington the lead in the fifth minute before Ola Toivonen earned a point in the 66th minute.

A seemingly innocuous corner from Callum McCowatt struck Toivonen on the arm in the second minute, with referee Adam Kersey initially waving away the contact.

After a VAR review, the penalty was awarded, with Ulises Davila powering his spot-kick past Lawrence Thomas to give the Phoenix a 1-0 lead.

The home side finally hit back in the 66th minute through a moment of individual brilliance from Toivonen.

In other matches, a goal in the final 10 minutes has helped Adelaide United see off a stubborn Brisbane Roar 1-0 at Coopers Stadium on Sunday.

Read the full story here.


Djokovic closing in on world no.1 rank

Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic.

Novak Djokovic Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Novak Djokovic ruthlessly took Matteo Berrettini apart at the ATP Finals on Sunday as he began his quest to reclaim the world No.1 by winning his opening group match 6-2 6-1.

Berrettini became the first Italian to play in the season-ending showpiece since 1978 but was given a harsh lesson by the 16-time grand slam champion at London's O2 Arena.

The 32-year-old Djokovic began the match 640 points behind Rafael Nadal in the race to end the year on top of the rankings, but victory chipped that advantage down to 440.

Djokovic must at least win two group matches and reach the final to have any chance of matching Pete Sampras's record of ending six separate years as world No.1.

- Reuters

France claim first Fed Cup title in 16 years

France emerged teary-eyed and triumphant from a weekend of grit and inspiration to claim their first Fed Cup title in 16 years with a 3-2 win on Sunday over hosts Australia.

Kristina Mladenovic France

Kristina Mladenovic Photo: Photosport

Kristina Mladenovic and Caroline Garcia combined for the decisive point, grinding down Ash Barty and Sam Stosur 6-4 6-3 in the doubles to seal France's third title in the team event and leave a heaving crowd of 13,842 at Perth Arena deflated.

Mladenovic was key to France's triumph, unbeaten in her three rubbers and having come back from a set down to stun world number one Barty in the reverse singles earlier in the day.

Australia saved two championship points at 5-2 in the second set but Mladenovic capped her superb weekend by serving out the match.

France captain Julien Benneteau, branded a "lucky dude" by Mladenovic, led the team to victory barely eight months after taking the job.

Australia had been chasing their eighth Fed Cup title and first in 45 years but have now lost their last nine finals in the event, including six in succession from 1975-80.

- Reuters

Kiwi cricketers help Adelaide lead WBBL

New Zealand cricketer Sophie Devine hit five consecutive sixes to help the Adelaide Strikers to the top of the WBBL with a 17-run victory over the Melbourne Stars.

Devine delighted the crowd and rocked the Stars by going 6-6-6-6-6 off the last five balls of the Strikers' innings to power her side to 164-4.

She finished with 85 not out off just 56 balls.

Her savage assault wrecked the bowling figures of young spinner Madeline Penna (3-50) and ultimately proved the difference as the Stars posted 147-8 in reply.

Strikers skipper, New Zealander Suzie Bates, introduced herself into the attack and her decision paid immediate dividends when she claimed the big-hitting Lee, sparking a 7-29 collapse to put Adelaide firmly back in the driver's seat.


Another South African World Cup winner retires

South African loose-forward Francois Louw has announced his retirement from international rugby, the second of the Springboks' World Cup-winning side to call time on their careers.

Francois Louw of South Africa.

Francois Louw Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Louw, who came off the bench for captain Siya Kolisi in the 32-12 victory over England in the World Cup decider, won 76 Test caps after debuting in 2010.

"I couldn't have asked for a more fulfilling career with the Springboks and I bow out with a full heart," he said in a media release on Sunday from South Africa Rugby.

South African coach Rassie Erasmus praised Louw's contribution to their World Cup campaign.

"He has been a tremendous servant of South African rugby and we're losing a lot with his retirement, not just in how he played, but in the calmness, insight and character that he brought to the group."

Louw's retirement follows that of Tendai Mtawarira. The prop won the last of his 117 caps in the World Cup final.


'Peace agreement' could see NRL star released from jail

An out-of-court settlement appears David Fifita's best chance of being freed from a Bali jail after the NRL star was detained for allegedly striking a security guard outside a nightclub in Seminyak.

The bouncer who accused Fifita of hitting him early on Saturday morning has reportedly forgiven the 19-year-old and accepted his apology.

Fifita's lawyer says the teenage forward "doesn't remember" hitting the security guard and is confident the issue can be quickly resolved.

A police report obtained by the Seven Network said Fifita was not initially able to be interrogated because he was under the influence of alcohol.

The incident took place at the same nightspot where Asofa-Solomona was involved in a wild brawl, which resulted in a three-game ban and a suspended $15,000 fine, and comes a fortnight after Fifita captained a Junior Kangaroos team to a win over France in Wollongong.


Louzada career-high guides Sydney to NBL win

A three-point barrage from import Didi Louzada has inspired NBL leaders Sydney to a 104-85 victory over defending champions Perth in their top-of-the-table clash.

A white-hot Louzada hit seven of his 11 long-range attempts on Sunday at Qudos Bank Arena, including three in a row in a stunning third-quarter burst.

The No.35 pick in this year's NBA draft finished the game with a career-high 28 points, six rebounds and two assists before succumbing to cramps.

The swingman was still outpointed by Wildcats star Bryce Cotton, who single-handedly kept his team in the contest with a season-high 36 points.

His tally is also the league's highest of the season so far.