16 Nov 2019

Today's sports news: what you need to know

7:21 pm on 16 November 2019

Latest - China has outplayed New Zealand 94-71 in the four-nation women's basketball Olympic qualifying tournament in Auckland today.

Kalani Purcell

Kalani Purcell Photo: Photosport

Ranked eighth in the world to New Zealand's 35, China's relentless defence, speed on transition and shooting accuracy proved too much for the Tall Ferns.

The visitors, coming off a shock 81-80 loss to South Korea in game one, led 28-14 after the first quarter and 50-29 at half-time.

The Tall Ferns, who opened the tournament with an emphatic 111-54 win over the Philippines, lifted to share the third quarter 19-19, but still trailed 69-48 at the final break.

The loss doesn't end New Zealand's hopes of a spot at next year's Tokyo Olympics, but they will need to beat world No.18 South Korea in their third and final game tomorrow.

The top two nations from the Auckland tournament will go through to a final play-off round for 16 teams in February next year, with the top 12 from there qualifying for the Tokyo Games.

Nadal misses out on ATP Finals

Rafael Nadal missed out on a place in the ATP Finals last four as defending champion Alexander Zverev claimed the remaining semi-final spot in London.

Rafael Nadal


Nadal, who beat Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-7, 6-4 7-5 in the afternoon session, needed Daniil Medvedev to beat Zverev to secure a place in the last four.

Sadly for Nadal, and all those who were looking forward to him taking on Roger Federer in tomorrow's semi-finals, Zverev had not read the script.

Zverev's clinical 6-4 7-6 (4) win relegated Nadal to third despite also having two wins. Tsitsipas won the group while Zverev took second place courtesy of his head-to-head advantage over Nadal who he beat impressively on Monday.

However, the 33-year-old Spaniard does finish the year as men's world number one.

Devine hits out for Strikers

New Zealand all-rounder Sophie Devine has continued her impressive form for the Adelaide Strikers against the Melbourne Stars in the Australian Women's Big Bash League.

Sophie Devine

Sophie Devine Photo: Photosport

Devine anchored the Adelaide innings of 153-2 with an unbeaten 77 off 58 balls, including five fours and three sixes. She backed up with the ball as well, returning figures of 3-13 off three overs.

Melbourne fell well short, struggling to 96-8 in their 20 overs.

Earlier in the week, Devine smashed a 56-ball 85 not out, including five consecutive sixes as the Strikers bea the Stars by 17 runs.

Olympic champion struggles with translation

Chinese multiple world and Olympic champion Sun Yang's defence against allegations he committed anti-doping violations was affected by translation problems during the opening stages of a Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) hearing.

Mark Horton silently protests winner Sun Yan by not standing on podium. World Swimming Championships 2019.

Chinese swimmer Sun Yang, centre, is attending a Court of Arbitration hearing. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Sun has been cleared of wrongdoing by swimming's governing body FINA over his conduct during a random drug test in September last year, but the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has appealed to CAS against that ruling.

Sun, who asked for a public hearing, faces a potential ban of up to eight years which would rule him out of next year's Tokyo Olympics if he loses the case.

Sun was the first to give evidence before a CAS tribunal in the day-long hearing and the translation problems began with the first question.

Sun's lawyer Ian Meakin said: "He doesn't understand."

CAS general secretary Matthieu Reeb said that the interpreters were provided by the participants.

Documents leaked to the media have revealed that Sun questioned the credentials of the anti-doping officials before members of his entourage smashed the vials containing his blood samples with a hammer. He has denied any wrongdoing.

- Reuters

Smith back to lead Royals

Banned from being captain of the Australia side, Steve Smith will return to captain the Rajasthan Royals in next year's Indian Premier League.

Steve Smith of the Rajasthan Royals.

Steve Smith Photo: Photosport

Smith took over over from Ajinkya Rahane during the last season and also led the Royals in 2015.

England cricket stars Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler and Jofra Archer have also been retained by the struggling IPL side in 2020.

Smith is banned from leading Australia again until March next year in the wake of the infamous ball-tampering scandal in Cape Town last year.

Smith has also signed for the Sydney Sixers' upcoming Big Bash League campaign.

Manchester City appeal thrown out

Manchester City's attempt to halt a UEFA investigation into allegations that the club breached financial fair play regulations has failed after its appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) was thrown out.

CAS general secretary Matthieu Reeb said the Premier League champions' appeal, made in June, had been judged inadmissible.

UEFA had opened an investigation into City over potential breaches of its break-even rule in March after German publication Der Spiegel reported the club's Abu Dhabi owners inflated sponsorship agreements to comply with requirements.

The club have said that the accusation of financial irregularities "remains entirely false" and they are confident of a positive outcome.

Reeb said the City appeal had been thrown out because the UEFA case had not run its course. He said City could appeal again once UEFA had made its final decision.

- Reuters

No rush to decide Bennett's future with Great Britain

Great Britain will mount a salvage operation to keep Wayne Bennett in the job when they take on Papua New Guinea in the last match of their tour but insist, win or lose, there will be no knee-jerk reaction.

Great Britain rugby league coach Wayne Bennett.

Wayne Bennett Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The return of the Great Britain brand after a 12-year absence is threatening to turn into a nightmare after three defeats out of three so far and pressure is mounting on veteran Australian coach Bennett, whose contract with the Rugby Football League runs out after Saturday's game in Port Moresby.

South Sydney Rabbitohs and England mentor Bennett, who turns 70 on New Year's Day, has consistently spoken of his desire to take England into the 2021 World Cup, although he admitted that the national team had taken a backward step.

English RFL chief executive Ralph Rimmer said there will be a debrief once the tour has finished and not before.

"I won't pre-empt the outcome but what I will say is don't forget what Wayne has achieved as a coach," Rimmer said.

- PA