13 Nov 2019

Today's sports news: what you need to know

12:25 pm on 13 November 2019

Latest - New Zealand's Michael Venus and his South African partner Raven Klaasen have qualified for the semifinals at the ATP Finals in London.

Michael Venus and Raven Klaasen celebrate winning a point.

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 second seeds Poland's Lukasz Kubot and Brazil's Marcelo Melo 6-3 6-4 to notch up their second straight win in round robin.

Regardless of their result in their final round robin game against Ivan Dodig and Filip Polasek on Friday, Venus and Klaasen are guaranteed a semifinal berth.

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

It's a lucrative finish to the season for Venus and Klaasen who receive $162,000 between them just for qualifying and an additional $63,000 for each round robin match win.

That increases to $167,000 for winning a semifinal and an additional $322,000 for winning the title.

Thiem into semi-finals

Dominic Thiem has beaten Novak Djokovic to make his first ATP Finals semi-finals.

Dominic Thiem of Austria.

Dominic Thiem Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The Austrian rallied from four-one down in the third-set tie-break to beat Djokovic for the first time on hard court.

Thiem attacked Djokovic at every opportunity to record his second win in group play.

The Austrian, who's making his fourth consecutive showing in London, had a record of three and six at the season finale and had never won two matches in one year at the tournament before this week.

He also became the second player in tournament history to beat Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, after Germany's Alexander Zverev did last year en route to the title.

World number two Djokovic will meet Federer on Friday to decide the other semi-finalist from the group.

Earlier Federer recorded his first win of the event with a straight sets victory over Italian Matteo Berrettini

46 Super Rugby rookies

A total of 46 rookies have received New Zealand Super Rugby contracts for the first time.

Scott Barrett

Scott Barrett Photo: Photosport

The Super Rugby squads for next season have been confirmed with the next generation of young players a big proportion of the 195 players contracted to the Blues, Chiefs, Crusaders, Highlanders and Hurricanes.

The Highlanders have 15 players in their first season.

With Sam Whitelock taking some time off from New Zealand rugby the Crusaders have named fellow lock Scott Barrett as their captain for 2020.

Despite being without Whitelock, Kieran Read, Owen Franks and Ryan Crotty the Crusaders will still pack enough quality to start favourites to clinch a fourth straight crown.

There are also nine international players with all five clubs fielding at least one, seven sets of siblings, and 11 players whose fathers also played Super Rugby.

The 2020 Super Rugby season officially kicks off on 31 January.

Read more on this story here.

Fed scores first win at Finals

Roger Federer got back on track at the ATP Finals with a 7-6, 6-3 defeat of Italian Matteo Berrettini.

Roger Federer has been eliminated from the U.S. Open.

Roger Federer Photo: Photosport

Defeat at the hands of Dominic Thiem in his opening round-robin match had left the six-time champion facing an early exit, but he responded in emphatic fashion.

Berrettini was also coming off a heavy defeat by Novak Djokovic in his first appearance at the event, and the 23-year-old showed why he has made such an impact this year as he pushed Federer hard in the opening set.

Berrettini, the first Italian to qualify for the tournament since 1978, had three break points in the eighth game but Federer served his way out of trouble and the 38-year-old Swiss then broke to claim victory.

Incredibly Federer is now 17-0 in second round-robin matches at the tournament but he is likely to need a victory over Djokovic in his final group match to reach the semi-finals.

Djokovic, who is bidding to equal Federer's record of six titles and claim back the world number one ranking from Rafael Nadal, faces Thiem later today.


England batters on top

Dom Sibley and Zak Crawley boosted their England Test cricket hopes as they made centuries on the first day of a tour match against a New Zealand XI in Whangarei.

Uncapped Sibley, who opened the batting with Rory Burns, reached three figures from 161 balls before retiring, as England posted 285-3.

Crawley, who is also uncapped, compiled 103 from 137 balls batting at three before retiring.

The only wicket to fall during the day was opener Burns, who was dismissed by Henry Shipley for 23.

Captain Joe Root was on 41 at the close, with Ollie Pope also unbeaten on nine.

England's first Test against New Zealand begins on 21 November.

Cibulkova retires

Former world women's tennis number four and Australian Open runner-up Dominika Cibulkova has announced her retirement.

Slovakian tennis player Dominika Cibulkova in action.

Dominika Cibulkova Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The 30-year-old Slovakian claimed eight WTA singles titles and entered the top four in 2017.

Her biggest title came in 2016 when she defeated then world number one Angelique Kerber to win the WTA Finals.

Cibulkova, who has not played since the French Open, became the first Slovak woman to reach a Grand Slam singles final in 2014 when she lost to China's Li Na at the Australian Open.


Australia A cricketers struggle

A star-studded Australia A side has been bowled out for 122 in a calamitous tour match performance against Pakistan in Perth, where forgotten man Cameron Bancroft has provided a timely reminder of his staying powers.

Joe Burns was clean-bowled for a golden duck and fellow Test hopefuls Marcus Harris, Usman Khawaja, Travis Head and Will Pucovski also fell cheaply as the hosts crumbled on day two of the pink-ball clash at Optus Stadium.

Pakistan were 7-0 at stumps, leading by 313 runs in the three-day match.

Australia A were reeling at 57-0 in reply to Pakistan's 428 before Bancroft (49) and Riley Meredith (19no) restored some pride, batting longer for the 10th wicket than the first nine combined.

Pakistan have another tour match before the first Test in Brisbane in just over a week.


Wales duo to have surgery

Wales duo Rhys Patchell and Jonathan Davies face months out of action as they prepare to have surgery for injuries sustained in the Rugby World Cup.

Flyhalf half Patchell injured his shoulder in Wales' 40-17 defeat by New Zealand in the third place playoff while his Scarlets team mate Davies injured his knee earlier in the tournament in Japan.

"Patchell is expected to return to play between 12-16 weeks following a shoulder injury whereas Davies faces at least six months recovering from knee surgery," a WRU statement said.

Their recovery periods mean both players are set to miss the Six Nations tournament beginning in February next year, where Wales will look to defend their title.

Centre Davies sustained his injury in a Pool D match against Fiji but soldiered on and played with his knee heavily strapped in their final two matches of the tournament against South Africa and the All Blacks.


Albon stays with Red Bull

British-born Thai racer Alexander Albon will continue to partner Max Verstappen at Red Bull in 2020, the Formula One team announced.

The 23-year-old made his debut with Red Bull-owned Toro Rosso this season but replaced under-performing French driver Pierre Gasly at the energy drink brand's senior team from the Belgian Grand Prix in August.

Italy-based Toro Rosso confirmed separately that Gasly and Russian Daniil Kvyat, another former Red Bull driver, would continue as their lineup next season.

Tuesday's announcements left only struggling former champions Williams with a seat to be filled, although that is expected to go to 24-year-old Canadian Formula Two driver and team reserve Nicholas Latifi.