Latest – New Zealand freestyle halfpipe skier Nico Porteous has won the World Cup event at Mammoth Mountain in California.
Nico Porteous Photo: Photosport
After a sluggish first run scoring just 69.50, Porteous was sensational in his second, scoring 97.00 to beat the United States’ double Olympic champion David Wise’s first round score of 95.25.
Three other New Zealanders also featured in the event.
Porteous’ brother Miguel finished fifth scoring 88.00, Ben Harrington was sixth with a best run of 85.00, and 12-year-old Gustav Legnavsky from Wanaka was 8th scoring 74.25.
Kiwi cricketer up for award
Blackcaps cricketer Ajaz Patel’s been nominated for the ICC’s player of the month award for December.
Patel’s been nominated for becoming just the third player in test history to take all ten wickets in an innings, when he took 10 for 119 in the first innings of the second test against India.
Despite Patel’s achievement, he was then dropped for the home series against Bangladesh.
Nominated alongside Patel for the award are Indian opening batter Mayank Agarwal and Australian fast bowler Mitchell Starc.
In the two tests against New Zealand, Agarwal scored 278 runs at an average of 69, with a century and two half centuries in his four innings.
Starc meantime helped Australia to retain the Ashes, picking up 14 wickets in the three tests played in December, at an average of 19.64.
He also scored 117 runs at an average of 58.50.
Spanish tennis star begins Australian Open campaign
Rafael Nadal said his game needed more consistency after his return from injury as the Spaniard reached the final of the Melbourne Summer Set 1, but added that he was delighted with the attitude he had shown this week.
The 20-times major winner was made to toil by the aggressive Finn Emil Ruusuvuori in a 6-4 7-5 win at the Rod Laver Arena that witnessed some heavy hitting from the baseline by both players.
“Of course I need to do a lot of things better on court, but the only thing that I am not missing is that positive attitude — don’t get frustrated when things are not going the way I wanted,” said Nadal, playing his first competitive tournament since August.
“It’s normal that I’m having mistakes. It’s normal that sometimes I am a little bit slower than usual. But it’s a process, and I always believed in the process during all my tennis career, and victories help.”
The former world number one faces qualifier Maxime Cressy in Sunday’s final after the American knocked out former world number three Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria 7-5 7-6(9).
“(Cressy) is serving huge, playing very, very aggressive, and in fast conditions he’s very dangerous, so well done for him for being in the final … I hope tomorrow I will be able to play at a high level and create my chances,” added Nadal.
The event in Melbourne is among a series of warm-up events ahead of the Australian Open, which gets underway on Jan. 17.
Canada wins ATP Cup semi final
Denis Shapovalov and Felix Auger-Aliassime rallied to victory in the deciding doubles rubber against defending champions Russia to fire Canada into their first ATP Cup final.
Denis Shapovalov Photo: Chris Symes / Photosport
The Canadians beat the Russian pair of Daniil Medvedev and Roman Safiullin 4-6 7-5 10-7 in a final set super tiebreaker to seal the tie 2-1 and set up a Sunday final in the $10 million team event against Spain.
After Shapovalov and Medvedev won their respective singles matches, all four players were back at the Ken Rosewall Arena for the doubles.
The Russians appeared to have the upper hand before Canada levelled the match with a late break of serve in the second set and then carried the momentum in the super tiebreaker, which is played to 10 points instead of seven.
“Felix played unbelievable in the game to break and then in the tie-break as well, just making them play so much. It was awesome,” Shapovalov said. “We kept fighting. We have great team chemistry, team spirit, so it helped us a lot.”
Earlier, world number two Medvedev strolled past Auger-Aliassime 6-4 6-0 to keep alive Russia’s hopes of defending their ATP Cup title, sending the semi-final tie into the deciding doubles.
Denis Shapovalov had put Canada within one win of reaching the final with a battling 6-4 5-7 6-4 victory over Roman Safiullin in the first singles, putting Medvedev in a must-win situation in the second rubber.
World number one looking ominous
Australian world number one Ash Barty breezed past holder Iga Swiatek 6-2 6-4 in their Adelaide International semi-final to set up a showdown with Kazakhstan’s Elena Rybakina.
Ash Barty Photo: Â©Icon Sportswire (A Division of XML Team Solutions) All Rights Reserved
Barty, who won the tournament in 2020, was dominant from start to finish, winning 76.3% of her first serve points.
The 25-year-old took a 3-2 lead after getting the first break of the opening set and followed up with another break and a couple of love holds to take the first set.
The Australian carried her winning momentum into the second set, breaking early to take a 2-1 lead, and then successfully defending a break point to hold serve at 4-2.
Despite her best efforts, Poland’s fifth-seeded Swiatek could do little to stem Barty’s tide, eventually surrendering the match in one hour 27 minutes.
“This is unreal honestly. It’s so much fun playing out here tonight and Iga is an exceptional champion, she made me play my best tennis. There was not a lot in it,” Barty said.
“Each match this tournament I feel like I’ve got progressively better, hopefully there’s a little more left in the tank for tomorrow.”
Earlier on Saturday, seventh seed Rybakina put in a solid performance to beat Japan’s Misaki Doi 6-4 6-3.
Rybakina went down a break in the second game of the first set, but immediately broke back. She then sent down five aces to claim the first set 6-4, before breaking Doi’s serve twice in the second to seal victory.
“It was tough. I started really slow, and my focus was up and down. She played so well, I’m just happy to win. My serve really helped me today,” Rybakina said.
In the men’s Adelaide ATP 250 event, French top seed Gael Monfils will meet second-seeded Russian Karen Khachanov in Sunday’s title match.
Premier League teams knocked out of FA Cup
New Zealand footballer Chris Wood’s English Premier League team has been knocked out of the FA Cup.
Burnley lost 2-1 to championship team Huddersfield Town in the third round.
Wood played the first half, before being substituted.
Another Premier League team was knocked out by a lower tier opponent, with Newcastle losing 1-0 to League One side Cambridge United.
In other results involving Premier League teams, Crystal Palace beat Millwall 2-1, Leicester beat Watford and Brentford beat Port Vale 4-1 and Chelsea thumped Chesterfield 5-1.
Three games involving Premier League teams also went to extra time, but the big guns all prevailed with Brighton beat West Bromwich Albion 2-1, Everton beating Hull 3-2 and Southampton beating Swansea 3-2.
Messi still absent for PSG
Lionel Messi will miss Paris St Germain’s Ligue 1 trip to Olympique Lyonnais tnight as he continues his recovery from COVID-19.
The Argentine forward is back in Paris from his home country after testing negative but has not been cleared to play.
“Lionel Messi will continue his post-COVID individual protocol in the coming days,” PSG said in a statement.
Messi, 34, was one of several players to return positive results during the Ligue 1 break.
PSG said that Angel Di Maria, Julian Draxler, Danilo Pereira, Gianluigi Donnarumma and Layvin Kurzawa were still isolating after testing positive.
“It’s always hard to pick the right team, COVID or no COVID,” PSG coach Mauricio Pochettino told a news conference on Saturday.
His side lead the standings with 46 points from 19 games, 10 ahead of second-placed Olympique de Marseille ahead of the club’s 2,500th game.