Archive for: ‘August 2019’

Radwanska wins classic to set up Kvitova final

19/08/2019 Posted by admin

The Pole used all her guile and defensive skills to see off the powerful 22-year-old, setting up a showdown against Petra Kvitova, who stunned Maria Sharapova 6-3 7-6(3) in the second semi-final.

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“I didn’t know I could come back after that first set,” world number six Radwanska said in a courtside interview.

“It was a great match from the beginning to the end, lots of ups and downs, so many rallies and a lot of running. I am just so glad I could win,” added the Pole, who secured a first final berth at the season-ending event in her seventh appearance.

The first set was a slow burner that turned into a thriller once both women had settled into a rhythm and the longer the contest progressed, the stronger Radwanska became against an opponent who is also playing the doubles event in Singapore.

Radwanska worked her way into the contest after the fast-starting Spaniard wavered, reeling off four straight games and looking likely to ride the momentum to a one-set lead before Muguruza came storming back to force a tiebreak.

The Pole raced to a 3-0 lead but Muguruza recovered to surge ahead with some trademark aggressive groundstrokes and sealed the opener on her second set point when Radwanska found the net at the end of a brilliant rally.

Muguruza greeted the decisive point with a fist pump and a roar but her play at the start of the second set belied her positive body language as Radwanska forced a plethora of errors to race to a 4-0 lead that she never looked like relinquishing.

A mini revival mid-set brought Muguruza to within one game but Radwanska pulled away again and levelled the contest with her third break of the set.

The exertions of her first WTA Finals were now clearly visible on Muguruza, yet somehow she found the energy to rally from 4-1 down in the third set and put the contest back on a knife-edge before Radwanska finally got a decisive break in the 12th game.

ABSORBING TENNIS

The second semi-final pitted two former WTA Finals champions against each other and while it was shorter than the first match, Kvitova’s stunning comeback from 5-1 down in the second set was equally as absorbing.

Kvitova and Sharapova, two of the strongest servers on the Tour, traded early breaks before settling into a baseline battle until the Czech edged ahead in the seventh game of the opening set.

The world number five could sniff blood and broke again in the ninth game to take a surprise lead against a player who had won all three of her round-robin ties despite arriving in Singapore short of matches after a long injury layoff.

Kvitova, however, is prone to bouts of erratic play and the confidence she exuded in the opener was replaced by uncertainty as Sharapova, who has added greater variety to her game as she has grown older, raced 4-0 ahead.

The Russian somehow contrived to hand back the double break advantage, even wasting a set point at 5-2, as Kvitova rediscovered her top form to reel off five straight games and force a tiebreak.

The 2011 champion was now in full control, setting up three match points with a booming serve down the middle and when Sharapova sent a forehand sailing over the baseline, Kvitova had completed the most remarkable of second-set turnarounds.

(Editing by Clare Fallon)

Suspect’s boyfriend attacks Adelaide media

19/08/2019 Posted by admin

Media in Adelaide have been pelted with eggs by the partner of a woman who was questioned by police investigating the murders of missing mum Karlie Pearce-Stevenson and her two-year-old daughter.

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Wheelchair-bound Hazel Passmore attended Adelaide police station on Friday with her lawyer and partner after it was discovered she had photos of murdered toddler Khandalyce on her Facebook page.

The 33-year-old was questioned for several hours, but no charges were laid and she left the station.

Ms Passmore is the former girlfriend of Daniel Holdom, 41, the man charged this week with murdering Karlie Pearce-Stevenson.

Ms Passmore’s new partner told media waiting outside her Davoren Park home on Saturday to “f*** off” while throwing eggs and other objects.

“I had nothing to do with it, so f*** off,” he said.

Ms Pearce-Stevenson’s remains were found dumped in the notorious Belanglo State Forest south of Sydney in 2010.

The remains of Khandalyce were found in July, dumped with a suitcase on the side of a highway more than 1000 kilometres away in South Australia.

It was not until October that police were able to link the toddler’s DNA to her mother’s remains.

Khandalyce was two years old when she was last seen with her 20-year-old mother, who was originally from Alice Springs.

The pair were reported missing by Ms Pearce-Stevenson’s mother in 2009 but this was withdrawn about a month later after she was assured Karlie and her granddaughter were fine.

Police have revealed Ms Pearce-Stevenson’s identity and mobile phone were used for years after her death to mislead family and defraud social services.

Almost $100,000 was taken from her bank account between 2008 and 2012 and a woman in a wheelchair impersonated her at a Centrelink interview in 2010.

It has also been reported that NSW Police allegedly discovered one of the missing mother’s bank cards in Holdom’s wallet in 2013 while patrolling Narara, on the NSW Central Coast.

Holdom and Ms Karlie Pearce-Stevenson had previously been in a relationship.

McNamara plays down ‘favourites’ tag

19/08/2019 Posted by admin

England coach Steve McNamara has played down his team’s tag of favourites going into the Test series with New Zealand.

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Just two points have separated the teams in each of their last two meetings, with the Kiwis winning 20-18 in the 2013 World Cup semi-final at Wembley and 16-14 in last year’s Four Nations Series in Dunedin, and the bookmakers fancy England to get their revenge in the first Test at Hull’s KC Stadium on Sunday.

“I didn’t know that and I’m not interested in that,” McNamara said after the team’s final practice session on the KC Stadium pitch.

“We’ve got a really tough game in front of us. We’ve got to work hard and we’ll have to be good for a long period of time.

“I’m sure New Zealand aren’t too fussed about who’s favourites as well. We know the task in front of us is a big one but we’re ready for it.”

New Zealand are without established half-back pair Kieran Foran and Shaun Johnson, as well as Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Thomas Leuluai, Manu Vatuvei, Jason Taumalolo and Simon Mannering, robbing them of 158 caps’ worth of experience, but McNamara is expecting the tourists to justify their new world number one ranking.

“There’s players not available for both teams,” he said. “They’re a world-class team with an abundance of talent and it’s going to be one helluva Test match.

“The last couple of times we’ve played each other we’ve scored three tries apiece and it’s probably been a goal kick that’s separated us.

“There are two very good teams playing against each other.”

The series with the Kiwis was arranged after Australia pulled the plug on plans for a revived Lions tour in order to give their players a full off-season, and McNamara is delighted to get the chance to coach in a first Test series since 2007, when Tony Smith’s Great Britain beat Gary Kemble’s Kiwis 3-0.

“We were all disappointed when Australia decided not to participate this year but, once we got over that initial disappointment, we realised what an exciting series we could have,” McNamara added.

“I think the excitement over this Test series is probably as big, if not greater, than the previous Four Nations.

“It’s a really different experience. Back in the day, they used to have the tours but those days have gone and I think there’s only James Roby and Sean O’Loughlin, and possibly James Graham, who have been involved in a three-match Test series before.

“It is a really interesting challenge and one where recovery between games is going to be vital. It’s different to what we’ve used to with the Four Nations. It’s nice to have a little change from that.”

McNamara is set to stick with the team that beat France 84-4 in Leigh a week ago, with Zak Hardaker continuing in the full-back role following the withdrawal of Sam Tomkins with a recurrence of his knee injury.

McNamara declined to say if Tomkins would have been recalled but admits Hardaker, the newly-crowned Super League Man of Steel, now has an opportunity to cement the number one jersey.

“It’s irrelevant now because obviously Sam’s injured,” McNamara said. “We’d love to have had him available for selection but that’s not the case.

“Zak is a great player. He’s had to be patient over the last couple of years because of the form of Sam in our team. But he’s really come to the fore this year and I’m looking forward to seeing him play.

“Sam not being there takes the obvious pressure of the competition for places away from him but the reality is he’s still got to go out there and play really well, which I’m sure he will.”

Habana signs off on World Cup career

19/08/2019 Posted by admin

Bryan Habana could extend his Springboks career for two more years but has ruled out another tilt at the elusive outright World Cup try record.

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Habana botched four chances to overtake Jonah Lomu as the World Cup’s top all-time try-scorer as South Africa saw off Argentina 24-13 in Friday’s third-place play-off.

The 32-year-old shrugged off his disappointment at failing to land a 16th World Cup try by hailing New Zealand great Lomu as deserving to retain his share of the record, with he and Habana both having scored 15 times.

“I definitely won’t be at 2019,” said Habana, scotching the prospect he might play at the next World Cup in Japan.

“I will take some time off now and decide where I am as a player.

“I’m really proud of the last 12 years, it’s been an unbelievable journey.

“I’m not too sure it’s the end of my Test career yet. There is a lot to happen in South African rugby.

“It wasn’t for a lack of trying that I didn’t break the record. Sometimes things don’t happen for a reason.

“I’ve known Jonah (Lomu) now since 2007, and his humility, passion for life and for the game, it’s unbelievable.

“As bad as it is for me not to score tonight, it just goes to show how great Jonah is. It’s sort of deserving if it gets to stick around for four more years.

“He’s changed the game in a way that no other player has done before, and the respect I have for him, he probably rightly deserves that record to be around a little bit longer.

“For me it’s disappointing, not for a lack of trying, I’ll look back on missed opportunities but smile deeply knowing Jonah’s name will stay up there for another four years.”

Springboks boss Heyneke Meyer replaced Habana with 13 minutes to play on Friday, cutting short the Toulon star’s chance to break the record.

Meyer later revealed Habana had cramp and could not continue at his top level, and the 116-cap wing fully accepted the decision.

“I was pretty disappointed with the way I played so I thought it was a justified replacement,” said Habana. “Unfortunately I didn’t play my greatest game ever wearing a Springbok jersey so it might be one I want to forget.

“After our opening defeat to Japan as a team and individuals we had to dig deeper than ever before.

“So to reach the semi-finals after that, we wanted to make the final, but we’re extremely proud of our tenacity.

“It’s always about trying to leave the jersey in a better place than you found it.

“I’ll never regret anything, I’ve laid it all out there.

“When I eventually hang up my boots and call it quits in two years’ time when I’m probably done I’ll look back and assess where I was.

“The game has definitely given me a lot more than I could have given it.

“To have the opportunity to play on the highest stage, the humility that goes with that is something that the game deserves, and the game needs.

“It’s been a great journey, hopefully it might go on one or two years longer, but there’s definitely no regrets on my side.”

Government won’t confirm Kyrgyzstan refugee plan

19/08/2019 Posted by admin

The Central Asian country has been listed as one of the nations being weighed up to receive refugees from Nauru and Manus Island, particularly Hazara Afghans, The Australian reports.

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“We are having conversations with other countries to support our offshore processing arrangements and when we’re in a position to make relevant announcements, the minister for immigration will do so,” cabinet minister Mathias Cormann told Sky News on Saturday.

Refugee Action Coalition spokesman Ian Rintoul said the government is desperate if it is considering Kyrgyzstan.

“It’s best known internationally as a nuclear waste dump,” Mr Rintoul told AAP.

“The Afghan refugees there are routinely resettled to countries like Canada.”

The Greens said Australia’s asylum seeker policy is now verging on the ridiculous.

“What next?” Greens leader Richard Di Natale asked reporters in Melbourne.

“Are we going to send people to Mars?

“This is ridiculous that we would look for any option other than the most logical, humane and economically responsible option, which is to ensure we process people here in Australia and, if they are found to be genuine refugees, that they are settled here.”

Labor said the government should make public which countries it is talking to and trust the opposition in consultations for a solution.

“Let’s not make it a domestic political point-scorer game – people’s lives are involved, it’s too important,” Opposition Leader Bill Shorten told reporters in Sydney.

However, Mr Shorten labelled a plan that saw just four refugees sent to Cambodia at a cost of $40 million as a failed experiment.