9 Apr 2021

Today's sports news: What you need to know

1:21 pm on 9 April 2021

Latest - England's Justin Rose just needed to get his bearings in the opening round of the 2021 Masters, shaking off a slow start with a memorable back nine to grab the lead with a 7-under 65 on Thursday at Augusta.

Justin Rose of England.


Playing on lightning-fast greens, Rose finished the day at Augusta National with a four-shot lead over Brian Harman and Japan's Hideki Matsuyama.

It is the fourth time Rose has held the 18-hole lead at the Masters, tying Jack Nicklaus' record. He just missed the record for largest lead after one round set by Craig Wood when he was five shots in front after 18 holes in 1941.

Sitting five shots behind Rose in a tie for fourth place at 2 under was a group of four that included South Africa's Christiaan Bezuidenhout, Will Zalatoris, Webb Simpson and 2018 champion Patrick Reed.

Assigned a late tee time, perhaps it was the anticipation of getting the first major of 2021 underway that led Rose to two bogeys over his first seven holes. His reversal of fortune started with an eagle 3 at the par-5 eighth hole.

From there, Rose scorched the legendary course with seven birdies over his last 10 holes as he began his hunt for a second major title.

At the end of the first round, World No.1 ranked Jordan Speith finished 1 under and T8, reigning champion Dustin Johnson finished 2 over and T30, while Rory McIlroy finished 4 over and T60.


Manchester United are in prime position to secure their Europa League semi-finals spot after beating Spanish side Granada 2-0 in their quarter-final first leg.

Marcus Rashford

Marcus Rashford Photo: Photosport

Both Marcus Rashford and Bruno Fernandes scored to give United two valuable away goals going into the second-leg.

United will be without club captain Harry Maguire for the return-leg, as well as Luke Shaw and Scott McTominay who are all suspended after the trio received bookings.

Arsenal's only hopes of gaining European competition qualification for next season are in doubt after they drew with Czech Republic side Slavia Praha 1-1 in their quarter-final first leg.

Slavia notched a last-minute equalizer to finish the game 1-1 putting them ahead on away goals going into the second-leg.

Arsenal, who sit tenth in the English Premier League table, need to win the Europa League if they are to compete in Europe next season.

In today's other fixtures Roma beat Ajax 2-1 in Amsterdam while Villareal beat Dinamo Zagreb 1-0.

Veteran Kiwi rugby league player Benji Marshall was at his brilliant best as he helped Souths to a 35-6 win over Brisbane in Sydney in the NRL.

Benji Marshall of the Rabbitohs 2021.


36 year out Marshall was the star in the halves, scoring one of the Rabbitohs six tries.

With Cody Walker and Keaon Koloamatangi out suspended Marshall partnered Adam Reynolds in an impressive display.

Fullback Latrell Mitchell also scored two tries for Souths.

"I thought Benji was outstanding, he did a great job for us. That's what you want, you want guys coming into the team and we did it last year when we had a lot of injuries late in the season and we had guys keep turning up," said coach Wayne Bennett.

"He's been wonderful, it's not only what you see on the field, it's what he does off the field as well," Bennett said.

Souths are second on the table and the Broncos 12th.


Record for Clareburt

The Wellington swimmer Lewis Clareburt has continued his impressive form at the National Championships, breaking the Open record for the 100 freestyle.

Lewis Clareburt wins bronze in the mens 400m medley.

Lewis Clareburt wins bronze in the mens 400m medley. Photo: Photosport

The 21 year old swam 48.96 seconds in the first leg of the men's 4 x 100m Freestyle Relay. The previous record of 49.11 was held by Daniel Hunter.

Clareburt wasn't far off the Olympic Qualification standard for this event (48.57).

Erika Fairweather, who has already swum under the qualification standard in the Women's 400m Freestyle, lowered her entry time by .69 of a second, finishing with a time of 4:06.54 seconds.

In the Men's 400m Freestyle, Zac Reid took the win, swimming a personal best time of 3:47.74 seconds. Clareburt followed in second (3:48.62) and Louis Clark from North Shore Swim Club took third place.

In the Women's 50m Breaststroke Multi-class event, Jane Fox (SB14), broke her own New Zealand Para Open Record with a time of 52.33 seconds.

David Beck broke the new Zealand Para Record in the 100m Butterfly.

Roland Garros delayed

This year's French Open tennis tournament has been postponed by a week due to the Covid-19 pandemic and will begin on May 30th.

General view of centre court Philippe Chatrier.


The claycourt Grand Slam, which was postponed by four months last year and took place in front of limited crowds, will finish on June 13, two weeks before the expected start of Wimbledon.

The postponement is set to have an impact on the ATP and WTA calendars, especially on the grasscourt season with tournaments scheduled to start on June 7 in Hertogenbosch (WTA and ATP) Stuttgart (ATP) and Nottingham (WTA).

FFT President Gilles Moreton said it had made the decision after consulting with public authorities, the governing bodies of international tennis, and its partners and broadcasters.

It hoped the delay would let them welcome more fans on the grounds than last year, when only 1,000 were allowed at Roland Garros every day.

France last Saturday entered a third nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, with President Emmanuel Macron saying he was hoping to "re-open" the country around mid-May.


Little Master out of hospital

India batting great Sachin Tendulkar has been released from hospital a week after he was admitted when he contracted Covid-19, but he will remain in isolation at home.

Sachin Tendulkar.

Sachin Tendulkar. Photo: Photosport

Tendulkar, who turns 48 later this month, was previously quarantining at home after testing positive following mild symptoms.

"I have just come home from the hospital and will remain isolated while continuing to rest and recuperate. I would like to thank everyone for all the good wishes and prayers. Really appreciate it," Tendulkar wrote on Twitter.

Tendulkar retired from professional cricket in 2013 after notching a still unmatched 100 international centuries in a prolific 24-year career.

He lives in Mumbai, the capital of the Western Indian state of Maharashtra which has been the hardest hit by a resurgence in COVID-19 cases.

India reported a record 126,789 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday as several states struggled to contain a second surge in infections. With 12.9 million cases, India is the third-worst affected country, behind the United States and Brazil.


Hulkenberg to test for Aston Martin

Nico Hulkenberg will be Aston Martin's official Formula One reserve and development driver this season.

The experienced German stood in for Mexican Sergio Perez and Canadian Lance Stroll last year when the Silverstone-based team competed as Racing Point, with both drivers testing positive for Covid-19.

Perez has since left, moving to Red Bull, with Germany's four-times world champion Sebastian Vettel arriving from Ferrari.

Hulkenberg, 33, is a Le Mans 24 Hours winner and has started 176 Formula One grands prix in a career that started with Williams in 2010 and included stints with Racing Point's predecessors Force India.


Maracana won't be named after Pele

Rio de Janeiro abandoned plans to rename its famous Maracana Stadium in tribute to Pele after a widespread outcry from fans.

Traffic crawl past legendary Maracana Stadium, Rio de Janeiro.


The official proposal to give Pele's name to the ground that hosted the final of the 2014 World Cup and the opening ceremony of the 2016 Olympic Games was vetoed by state governor Claudio Castro.

The Rio de Janeiro state legislature voted last month to call it the "King Pele Stadium", but fans were angered at the removal of the stadium's existing official name Mario Filho, after the journalist who lobbied for it to be built in the 1940s.

Most Brazilians call the stadium simply the Maracana, after the neighborhood in which it is located.

Many critics of the name change also considered it inappropriate to rename the iconic Rio landmark after a player who never lived in the state.


Toni Nadal to help Canadian

Toni Nadal, the man who masterminded nephew Rafa's incredible career, is returning to the tennis Tour as part of the coaching team of Canadian youngster Felix Auger-Aliassime.

Rafa and Toni Nadal.

Rafa and Toni Nadal Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Nadal, 60, decided to step down as Rafa's coach in 2017 and concentrate on running the Rafa Nadal Academy in Mallorca.

But he has been tempted back by the chance to work with the 20-year-old and will be in his camp for next week's Monte Carlo Masters -- the tournament at which Nadal made his big breakthrough in 2005 before claiming the first of his 13 French Open titles a few weeks later.

"I will be working with Toni starting from this tournament," world number 22 Auger-Aliassime, who is coached by Frederic Fontang, said.

"Really it's gaining advice and experience and just working on a day to day to become a better player. I know there's no secret tool or recipe or that you just click your fingers and things work out."


Fergy has winners at Aintree

Former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson is no stranger to winning trophies and the Scot added another treble to his collection when three horses he co-owns secured Grade One victories at Aintree.

Alex Ferguson in 2019.


The manager of the United side that won the Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League treble in 1999, the 79-year-old Ferguson had reason to smile again when Protektorat, Monmiral and Clan Des Obeaux won on the opening day of the Grand National Festival.

"That's the best day I've had in my time in racing, which is about 20 years or so. It's different to when I was managing my football teams," Ferguson said.

"I was in control of what was going to happen on the pitch, but I'm not in control of that (on the track) as the trainer does all of that and as an owner you hope it goes well. You do get the same excitement when you win big races like that."


Zlatan into films

He has already sampled the life of a singer at Italy's Sanremo music festival, and AC Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic will now turn his hand to acting after being cast in a new Asterix and Obelix film.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic of AC Milan.


The 39-year-old Swede appeared at Italy's Sanremo festival in March, where he sang a duet with Bologna coach Sinisa Mihajlovic and said he would like to try acting.

But the news that he would be cast in the Asterix film, directed by Guillaume Canet and scheduled for release in 2022, came as a surprise.

The striker is Milan's top scorer with 17 goals in all competitions this season and he is yet to agree a new contract, with his current deal set to expire at the end of the campaign.