11 Jan 2020

Today's sports news: what you need to know

7:10 pm on 11 January 2020

Latest - The Welllington Phoenix have beaten the Western Sydney Wanderers 2-0 in their A-League football game in the capital.

Phoenix's Ulises Davila Plascencia celebrates his goal.

Ulises Davila Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Mexican midfielder Ulises Davila scored the opening goal of the game in the 15th minute.

The Phoenix did have to defend for long periods in the second half, but Liberato Cacace sealed the points with a goal in the 88th minute.

The result means the Phoenix have equalled a club record ninth straight game without defeat.

The Phoenix are now third on the table.

Good wins for Otago

The Otago men's and women's cricket teams have scored good wins over their Central Districts counterparts in their Super Smash T20 double header in Dunedin.

Hamish Rutherford of the Otago Volts.

Hamish Rutherford Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The wins secure both Otago teams places in the play-offs.

The Otago men beat Central by nine wickets, reaching their target of 140 with 15 balls to spare.

Hamish Rutherford top scored for Otago with an unbeaten 81.

Dane Cleaver top scored for Central with 42 in their total of 139 for six.

Otago leapfrog Central into second place on the men's ladder.

Earlier the Otago women chased down their target of 105 with almost three overs to spare as they beat CD by seven wickets.

Hannah Darlington took three wickets as Central were restricted to 104 for six.

Millie Cowan and Amanda-Jade Wellington then put on an unbeaten 86 for the fourth wicket to steer Otago home.

The Sparks have now confirmed their place in the elimination final against Auckland.

Venus gets wildcard

New Zealand's successful doubles player Michael Venus has been given a wildcard entry into the main draw of the singles for next week's ASB Classic men's tennis tournament in Auckland.

New Zealand tennis player Michael Venus.

Michael Venus Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Venus will play Tennys Sandgren of the United States in the first round.

Venus hasn't played singles since 2018.

The 32 year old has a ranking of ten in doubles, but doesn't have an official singles ranking.

He will play doubles in Auckland next week with Australian John Peers and they are the top seeds.

With the withdrawal of Russian Danil Medvedev, Italian Fabio Fognini is now top seed and he has a first round bye as does number two Denis Shapovalov, number three Karen Khachanov and number four John Isner.

IBA finances still in trouble

The International Olympic Committee says the International Boxing Association's ability to pay off its multi-million dollar debt was still unclear, reducing the chances of a swift end to the federation's Olympic suspension.

New Zealand heavyweight boxer David Nyika.

David Nyika Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The IOC suspended AIBA over issues surrounding its finances and governance in June 2019, officially taking over the boxing competition and qualification for the Tokyo 2020 summer Olympics.

The boxing body has been in turmoil for several years over its finances and governance, with the federation at least $30 million in debt. It was also split internally by an ongoing bitter battle over the presidency.

"We have been informed of AIBA's willingness to organise new competitions in order to generate revenues," IOC member Nenad Lalovic, who heads a task force to monitor changes to the boxing federation, told the IOC session.

"We do not know if there are possibilities for clearing AIBA's debts and we have no knowledge of any financial plan," said the Serbian, who also heads the wrestling federation.

The IOC has demanded changes to AIBA's statutes, new leadership and a financial cleanup of the federation before it will lift its suspension.

The IOC is racing to organise a series of continental boxing qualifiers this year while also preparing the tournament in Tokyo. It is also going through the process of selecting judges and referees following background checks.


Sheffield Utd up to fifth

Oli McBurnie's goal earned Sheffield United a 1-0 home win over West Ham United but they needed a stoppage-time VAR intervention to secure the points that moved them to fifth place in the English Premier League.

After a dismal opening period, the hosts were far livelier after the break and McBurnie tapped home after a mix-up between West Ham's substitute keeper David Martin and defender Fabian Balbuena in the 53rd minute.

West Ham thought they had equalised in stoppage time when Robert Snodgrass fired home but a VAR check harshly ruled that Declan Rice had handled the ball in the build-up.

Sheffield United moved up three places into fifth with 32 points from 22 games, four points behind fourth-placed Chelsea.

It was a first loss for West Ham since David Moyes returned for a second stint in charge after Manuel Pellegrini was sacked on Dec. 28 following defeat by Leicester City.

They remain in trouble in 16th place, two points above the bottom three.


Coll into third round in NY

New Zealand squash player Paul Coll is into the third round at the World Tour's first Platinum event of the year.

New Zealand squash player Paul Coll (front).

Paul Coll Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The world No 5 has opened his campaign at the Tournament of Champions, being played in New York's Grand Central Station, with a four-game win over 39th-ranked Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi of Qatar.

Coll claimed a 11-3 6-11 11-6 11-6 victory in 52 minutes on Saturday (NZ time).

The 27-year-old will face either world No 22 Leo Au of Hong Kong or 32-ranked Englishman Tom Richards in the last 16.

New Zealand's top female player Joelle King plays her first match at the event on Sunday.

Also in action on Sunday is Campbell Grayson, who has a men's second round clash with sixth seeded German Simon Rosner.

NZ underway at Winter Youth Games

New Zealand has recorded a win and a credible finish on day one of the 2020 Winter Youth Olympic Games in Lausanne, Swizerland.


Curling Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Despite battling some first match nerves, the New Zealand curling team eventually secured an 8-4 win against Slovenia.

The quartet of Zoe Harman, Lucy Neilson, Hunter Walker and Will Becker were solid on the ice but admitted they felt the pressure of the occasion.

Meanwhile alpine skier Harrison Messenger finished 34th in the men's Super G.

The 16-year-old flew down the course at the stunning Les Diablerets in the Swiss Alps to record a time of 57.59 seconds.

Messenger competes in Slalom on Sunday, while the curlers are up against France.

ND dent Aces' hopes

Northern Districts have dented Auckland's chances of making the playoffs in the national men's domestic Twenty20 competition.

The Knights squeaked home to win by three wickets at Eden Park Outer Oval on Friday.

Tim Seifert batting for the Northern Knights.

Tim Seifert batting for the Northern Knights. Photo: Photosport

Peter Bocock and Scott Kuggeleijn's measured 31-run stand for the seventh wicket countered the Aces fightback with the ball to ensure the visitors notched their third win of the season.

The loss leaves Auckland in fourth on 16 points with one match to play. They sit behind Central Districts and Otago, both on 18 points, and competition leading Wellington on 24.

Meanwhile a fluent half-century from White Fern Katie Perkins proved the difference as the Auckland women secured a home Elimination Final with a 13-run win over the Northern Spirit.

Winning the toss and batting first, the Hearts reached 138-6 at Eden Park's Outer Oval, thanks largely to Perkins' unbeaten 70 from 54 balls.

In reply, fellow White Fern Bernadine Bezuidenhout kept her side in the hunt all the way, before being dismissed in the 19th over for 51 off 43 balls.

The Spirit still needed 17 runs off the last over and it proved to be too many as Holly Huddleston closed down the chase with an excellent over.

Wellington will host the women's Grand Final next weekend, while Auckland will face the third-placed team on Thursday.

Tuatara rocked by Blue Sox

A day after one of their best performances of the season, the Auckland Tuatara have been beaten convincingly by the Sydney Blue Sox 12-4 in the Australian Baseball League.

Auckland Tuatara's Luke Hansen

Auckland Tuatara's Luke Hansen Photo: SMP images / www.photosport.nz

Starter Junya Michihara didn't have his best stuff at Blacktown on Friday night and the Blue Sox hitters got to him early - torching the right-hander for six earned runs on five hits while issuing four walks.

Koji Takahashi kept the Tuatara in it after taking over in relief and the Tuatara offence - led by a resurgent Max Brown, who went 2-3 with a pair of runs driven in.

The Blue Sox rallied again though and took an 8-4 lead into the ninth. They blew it out when manager Stephen Mintz opted to use position player Josh McAdams on the mound rather than using other fresh bullpen arms.

The series is tied up at 1-1 with the third game set for Saturday night.

Another Kenyan athlete sanctioned

Kenyan runner Wilson Kipsang has been provisionally suspended by the Athletics Integrity Unit for whereabouts failures and tampering with samples.

Wilson Kipsang Kiprotich of Kenya Celebrates after finishing.

Wilson Kipsang Kiprotich of Kenya Celebrates after finishing. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The Olympic bronze medallist and former marathon world record holder is one of about 60 Kenyan athletes sanctioned for anti-doping rule violations in the past five years.

Under anti-doping regulations, athletes have to inform testing authorities of their whereabouts for a one hour window of every day and three failures - not being present at the said time - within 12 months leads to an automatic ban.

Kipsang, 37, is twice a winner of the London Marathon and has a personal best of two hours, 3 minutes, 13 seconds -- making him the equal sixth-fastest man in history. His time of 2:03.23 at the 2013 Berlin Marathon stood as the world record for a year.

Kenya was among the countries placed on the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA's) compliance watch list in 2016.

- Reuters

India paste Sri Lanka in Pune

Shardul Thakur produced an all-round display and Navdeep Saini impressed with his pace again as India thumped Sri Lanka by 78 runs in the third and final Twenty20 International to complete a 2-0 series victory in Pune.

Shikhar Dhawan

Shikhar Dhawan Photo: Photosport

KL Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan both hit fifties to lay the foundation for India's imposing total of 201-6 after being put into bat at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium.

Sri Lanka's top order wilted early in their reply and Dhananjaya de Silva's counter-attacking 57 was not enough as they were bundled out for 123 in 15.5 overs.

Saini, who took 2-18 in the second match, led the rout claiming 3-28, while Thakur grabbed two wickets to go with his 22 not out off just eight deliveries.

The series opener in Guwahati was abandoned because of rain and India romped home by seven wickets in the second match in Indore.

- Reuters

ATP Cup semifinals set

World tennis number one Rafael Nadal has recovered from an upset loss against Belgium's David Goffin to win the deciding doubles match and send Spain into the semi-final of the ATP Cup teams event in Sydney.

Nadal partnered with Pablo Carreno Busta to win the high stakes decider 6-7(7) 7-5 10-7 against doubles specialists Sander Gille and Joran Vliegen after Spain and Belgium split the singles results earlier in the evening.

Rafael Nadal


Spain will now play host nation Australia in the inaugural event, while Serbia, led by world number two Novak Djokovic, take on Russia.

Djokovic battled through a stirring challenge from rising Canadian star Denis Shapovalov to propel Serbia into the semi-finals with a 4-6 6-1 7-6(4) victory.

It was Djokovic's fifth victory over the 20-year-old Canadian in as many clashes but by far the toughest, after Shapovalov controlled significant portions of the match.

- Reuters