7 Dec 2019

Today's sports news: what you need to know

8:05 pm on 7 December 2019

Latest - New Zealand sailors Peter Burling and Blair Tuke are timing their run to perfection for a fifth world title at the 49er sailing world championships in Auckland.

Blair Tuke and Peter Burling compete in the 49er World Champs in Auckland.

Blair Tuke and Peter Burling compete in the 49er World Champs in Auckland. Photo: Sailing Energy

The defending Olympic champions, second overall after day one of gold fleet racing on Friday, stepped up with an impressive series on Saturday morning.

They recorded a 10th-placed finish, backed up by a fifth, then a win. In contrast, their German rivals Erik Heil and Thomas Ploessel finished 12th, 15th and 10th to slip from the lead.

Burling and Tuke, four-time world champions, now top the leaderboard with 64 points to Heil and Ploessel's 76.

The New Zealanders have a worst result of 11th to discard, while the Germans have a 27th on their scorecard.

Fellow Kiwis Logan Beck and Oscar Gunn are also climbing up the leaderboard, recording finishes of second, eighth and seventh on Saturday to move into fifth place - five points off the bronze medal position.

Isaac McHardie and William McKenzie are the third New Zealand crew inside the top 10, sitting ninth.

There are two more gold fleet races on Sunday before the final medal race.

Alex Maloney and Molly Meech, the 49erFX Olympic silver medallists, finished 20th, ninth and fourth on Saturday morning to drop two places to ninth, but lifted to seventh with an 11th place in the last race of the day.

Double gold for Kiwi women

The New Zealand women's team pursuit have threatened the world record to claim gold at the Track Cycling World Cup round in Cambridge.

After taking more than a second off the national record in qualifying, the Kiwi quartet shaved almost four seconds more off that mark as they bettered Australia in Friday night's final.

The New Zealand women's team pursuit celebrate a gold medal in Cambridge.

The New Zealand women's team pursuit celebrate a gold medal in Cambridge. Photo: Guy Swarbrick

The time set by Rushlee Buchanan, Holly Edmondston, Bryony Botha and Kirstie James was only half a second outside the world record set by Great Britain at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

The pursuiters' achievements were matched by the New Zealand women's team sprint duo, Olivia Podmore and Natasha Hansen.

The new combination became the first Kiwi duo to go under 33 seconds, setting a new national record of 32.794secs in the first round before clocking 32.877 to beat Poland by just two one hundredths of a second in the gold medal ride.

The New Zealand men's team sprint trio had to settle for bronze, behind Japan and Poland.

On Saturday, Hansen was knocked out in the quarter-finals of the women's sprint after earlier beating Podmore to make the top eight.

Hansen was beaten 2-0 by Russian Anastasia Voinova.

In the men's keirin, Eddie Dawkins shrugged off a fifth place finish in the first round to win his repechage and progress through to the second round.

NZ sevens teams on track

Both New Zealand teams are through to the quarterfinals at the World Sevens Series event in Dubai.

Skipper Scott Curry is a late withdrawal from the All Black Sevens side.

Scott Curry. Photo: Photosport

After big wins in their opening games overnight on Friday, both Kiwi sides completed pool play with two matches on day two of the tournament.

The New Zealand men dispatched Canada 31-7 and secured top spot in their pool with a 40-7 win over Samoa, with the two teams sharing a moment before kickoff to pay tribute to the victims of the measles outbreak in the Pacific nation.

The Kiwi team will face the USA in Saturday night's quarterfinals.

Meanwhile the defending champion New Zealand women's side followed up a big first-up win over Japan by beating England 40-12, before going down 19-14 to France.

The results set them up for a quarterfinal against Fiji.

Rice Jr return has mixed results

The shock return of US import Glen Rice Junior hasn't been enough to prevent another defeat for the New Zealand Breakers in basketball's Australian NBL.

The Breakers dropped to a three win, nine loss record after a 108-90 loss to the Taipans in Cairns on Friday night.

Glen Rice Jr

Glen Rice Jr Photo: Photosport

US import Rice Junior was rushed backed into the team after Basketball Australia gave him a conditional clearance in relation to an assault charge he is facing over an incident at an Auckland bar.

On the stat sheet, the decision appeared to be the right one as he scored a game-high 30 points and added 12 rebounds.

But, with Rice Junior missing the previous three games, the move also had a significant impact on team chemistry, which Breakers coach Dan Shamir admitted.

"He has this ability of just showing up from nowhere and having, at least by the numbers, a good game.

"But definitely our coverages werel not there and there was a lot of mess on the floor, and it's definitely it has to do with [that]."

The Breakers host the Brisbane Bullets in Auckland on Monday.

Armstrong on fire against Sparks

Auckland Hearts right-arm pace bowler Bella Armstrong has set a new national women's List A record with brutal figures 7-18 against the Otago Sparks in the national women's 50-over competition.

Armstrong's stunning performance eclipsed, by a one run, an Auckland record of 7-19 set by Munokoa Tunupopo in the 1999/2000 season.

Tunupopo had shared the national record with Central Districts' Karen Musson, who had also take a bag of 7-19 against Southern Districts in 1987/88 - also at Melville Park on that occasion.

Auckland won the toss and opted to field, bowling Otago out for 74 in a shade over 32 overs. They then cruised to an eight-wicket win, racking up 77-2 in 14.2 overs.

Wozniacki announces tennis retirement

Former world number one Caroline Wozniacki will retire from tennis after January's Australian Open, the venue of her sole Grand Slam triumph.

Caroline Wozniacki

Caroline Wozniacki Photo: chryslene caillaud / panoramic

The 29-year-old, who triumphed in Melbourne last year, said her retirement had nothing to do with her health and that she wanted to accomplish more in life off the court with her husband David Lee, a professional basketball player.

The Dane had opened up about her battle with rheumatoid arthritis in October last year, saying there were days when she found it hard to get out of bed, but finished the 2018 season as the world number three.

Wozniacki, who was engaged to golfer Rory McIlroy in 2014, has won 30 WTA singles titles and also represented Denmark at three Olympic Games from 2008 to 2016.

She had a barren run this year as she coped with injury problems and was unable to add to her last title triumph at the China Open in 2018.

- Reuters

Captain's knock from Kohli

Kohli smashed a masterly 94 not out to fashion a successful chase as India beat West Indies by six wickets in the first match of their three-match T20 series.

India's captain Virat Kohli in action against the Black Caps.

India's captain Virat Kohli in action against the Black Caps. Photo: PhotoSport

Kohli hit six sixes and accelerated just when the team needed to help India chase down a 208-run victory target with eight balls to spare at Hyderabad's Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium.

KL Rahul, Kohli's collaborator in a century stand, made 62 but the India captain completed a clinical chase, going run-a-ball in his first 20 deliveries before plundering 74 in his next 30.

Earlier, Shimron Hetmyer smashed his maiden fifty in T20 Internationals as the reigning 20-overs world champions put on a six-hitting exhibition, hitting 15 of them, in their commanding total of 207-5.

- Reuters