Rediff.com  » Sports » Sports Shorts: Nishikori, Thiem shocked; Messi injured as Argentina lose

Sports Shorts: Nishikori, Thiem shocked; Messi injured as Argentina lose

Last updated on: March 23, 2019 18:59 IST

A summary of sports events and persons who made news on Friday

Dusan Lajovic

IMAGE: Serbia's Dusan Lajovic in action against Japan's Kei Nishikori during Day 5 of the Miami Open, in Miami Gardens, Florida. Photograph: Julian Finney/Getty Images

Indian Wells champion Dominic Thiem's bid for a 'Sunshine Slam' met with a quick end as he fell 6-4, 6-4 to Hubert Hurkacz in the Miami Open second round on Friday, while world number one Novak Djokovic wasted little time in dispatching Bernard Tomic.

The 22-year-old Hurkacz broke third seed Thiem four times, including in the final games of each set, to record the biggest win of his career.

 

Austrian Thiem, who beat Roger Federer on Sunday to win his first career Masters 1000 title at the BNP Paribas Open, was uncharacteristically sloppy on the Grandstand court.

Kei Nishikori was also sent packing from the second round after Serbian Dusan Lajovic stunned the Japanese world number six 2-6, 6-2, 6-3.

The fifth seed had a first-round bye and appeared headed for a routine victory until Lajovic, who was misfiring in the early stages of the match, suddenly stepped up his game.

"He definitely raised his level (in the) second and third sets. He wasn't missing much like in the first set. He served well in the end," said Nishikori.

"Maybe I didn't play quite my best today. Credit to him today."

Nishikori, playing in his first match since falling in the third round at Indian Wells last week, had his serve broken five times during the match.

"I'm trying to keep my head up," said Nishikori. "Claycourt season is coming. It's a completely new season. I'll try to have good practice, two more weeks, and be ready for Monte Carlo."

Next up for world number 44 Lajovic, who had lost in the first round of five tour-level events this season, will be a clash with Nick Kyrgios after the Australian defeated qualifier Alexander Bublik of Kazakhstan 7-5, 6-3.

Djokovic needed just over an hour to brush aside Australian Tomic 7-6(2) 6-2 and advance to the third round of a tournament he has won six times. The Serb improved his record to 6-0 against Tomic.

In other men's matches, seventh seed John Isner beat Italian Lorenzo Sonego, 11th seed Borna Coric beat Roberto Carballes Baena, Briton Kyle Edmund beat Belarusian Ilya Ivashka, Gilles Simon lost to French compatriot Jeremy Chardy and Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia beat German Mischa Zverev.

Canadian Milos Raonic, the 12th seed, also advanced when Germany's Maximillian Marterer withdrew due to knee pain while 16th seed Gael Monfils pulled out of the tournament with an injury.

David Ferrer won his first ATP Masters match in 12 months on Thursday defeating American Sam Querrey 6-3,,6-2.

"I enjoyed it a lot. It is Miami, a lot of people have supported me all these years. For me, it is a great experience to play in this new stadium. I am really happy because I played really good... I am doing my goal, and my goal is to be competitive," the ATP quoted Ferrer as saying.

Ferrer was able to take advantage of Querrey's second serve, winning almost 87 per cent of those points and he was able to mount pressure on the former world number eleven.

The 27-time ATP Tour titlist is playing in Miami for the 17th and final time. The tennis star has said he will retire at the Madrid Open in the month of May.

Ferrer will next meet second seed Alexander Zverev, who defeated him in the Miami Open's second round last year.

Osaka enjoys rollercoaster win

Naomi Osaka

IMAGE: Japan's Naomi Osaka serves against Yanina Wickmayer of Belgium (not pictured) in the second round of the Miami. Photograph: OpenGeoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

World number one Naomi Osaka endured a rollercoaster start to the Miami Open on Friday, advancing to the third round with a 6-0, 6-7(3), 6-1 win over Belgian Yanina Wickmayer.

After facing eight-times Miami champion Serena Williams in her first match last year, Osaka might have expected an easier opener on Friday against the 141st-ranked Belgian qualifier.

Yet that was not the case as she needed more than two hours to dispose of her Belgian opponent, having dispatched the 23-times grand slam singles champion 6-3 6-2 a year earlier.

"It was really hard for me, I think, emotionally in the second set because I just started thinking about winning, not exactly the things I could do in order to win," said Osaka.

"I had a bit of a dip. She was also playing really well."

The first match on Stadium Court, the contest again looked like it might wrap up before the late arrivals had settled in but it turned into a head scratcher for Osaka that ebbed and flowed between dominance and despair.

The Japanese, who had been firing on all cylinders while Wickmayer sleepwalked through a one-sided opening set, suddenly began to sputter in the second as the Belgian woke from her slumber.

Letting her foot off the gas, the Australian and US Open champion was left muttering to herself and flipping her racket as shots that had been finding their target minutes before were sprayed all over the temporary court allowing Wickmayer back into the match.

Yet just as quickly as Osaka lost her way the 21-year-old got back on track in the third set, securing the early break on her way to a 3-0 lead and a topsy-turvy victory.

Although South Florida is home for Osaka, the Miami stop has not been kind to the Japanese, who has never ventured past the third round.

Osaka will next face Taiwan's 27th seed Hsieh Su-wei, who was a 6-2, 7-5 winner over American Alison Riske.

"I consider Miami a home," said Osaka. "I definitely always want to do well here whenever I play.

"I haven't really done well here compared to the other tournaments. It's definitely been a really big goal of mine."

Serena Williams regained her form after a shaky second set to dispatch Rebecca Peterson of Sweden 6-3 1-6 6-1 to set up a third-round clash with China's Wang Qiang.

"I knew I could play a lot better than I was playing," Williams said of her error-ridden second set.

"I just said, 'Ok you're better than this, Serena."

It was the 10th-seeded American's first time on court since retiring during her third-round match at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells with an illness earlier this month.

After a dramatic comeback win in her opening match, Canadian teen Bianca Andreescu took a more confident step towards the 'Sunshine Double', disposing of American 22nd seed Sofia Kenin 6-3, 6-3 to reach the third round.

The youngest player to win Indian Wells since Serena Williams in 1999, Andreescu is bidding to become just the fourth woman to win both there and Miami back-to-back in the same year.

While Andreescu's run continues, two other promising American teenagers saw their time in Miami come to an end.

After picking up her first career WTA Tour event win on Thursday, 15-year-old Cori Gauff fell to 14th-seeded Russian Daria Kasatkina 6-3, 6-2 while 17-year-old Amanda Anisimova lost 6-3, 1-6, 6-4 to Estonian Anett Kontaveit.

Messi injured as Argentina lose to Venezuela

Lionel Messi

IMAGE: Lionel Messi wears a dejected look as he walks back after Friday's international friendly between Argentina and Venezuela, at the Wanda Metropolitano, in Madrid. Photograph: Juan Medina/Reuters

Lionel Messi returned to Argentina duty for the first time since the World Cup on Friday but it was a disappointing outing for the forward as they lost 3-1 to Venezuela and he was ruled out of their next match with a groin problem.

Messi showed flashes of brilliance but it was not his night as Venezuela put three past their more illustrious rivals for the first time with goals from Salomon Rondon, Jhon Murillo and Josef Martinez. Lautaro Martinez got Argentina's consolation. 

Messi finished the match but felt some pain in his groin and will sit out Tuesday's friendly against Morocco in Tangier, the Argentine Football Association said after the game.

The injury, described as a flare up of an existing problem, was not thought to be serious. Midfielder Gonzalo Martinez will also miss the Morocco match with a thigh strain.

Messi took a sabbatical after his country's last-16 exit from the 2018 finals in Russia but he returned with a clean shaven new look to captain the side in the all-South American affair at Atletico Madrid's Metropolitano stadium.

Venezuela had only beaten Argentina once in 23 previous encounters, but they got the perfect start after five minutes when Rondon brought down a long pass inside the box and crashed a shot past keeper Franco Armani.

Rondon should have made it two with a header in the 40th but the second goal was only moments away as Murillo took advantage of a quick free kick to scamper to the edge of the box and curl a lovely right-foot shot into the far corner of the net.

Lautaro Martinez finished off a superb counter attack to pull Argentina back into the game after 59 minutes but their hopes were short lived and Venezuela's Josef Martinez made it 3-1 from the penalty spot with a quarter of an hour remaining.

Argentina face Morocco in Tangier on Tuesday, while Venezuela's next face Catalonia in Girona on Monday. 

Falcao penalty for Colombia earns Queiroz debut win over Japan

Colombia's record goalscorer Radamel Falcao scored from the penalty spot to defeat Japan 1-0 on Friday and hand new coach Carlos Queiroz a victory in his first game.

Falcao's 33rd goal for his country came after a penalty was awarded for a handball by Japan's Takehiro Tomiyasu in the 64th minute in Yokohama.

Colombia's triumph was a small measure of revenge for the defeat they suffered by Japan in the group stage of last year's World Cup and gives former Iran boss Queiroz the perfect start to his tenure.

After Sebastian Villa struck the crossbar in the fourth minute for the visitors, it was Japan who were the better team in the first half, having a host of shots without really testing Colombia goalkeeper Camilo Vargas.

However, Colombia looked more comfortable with Queiroz's system after halftime and had two goals disallowed, the first for handball and the second for offside, either side of Falcao's winner.

Falcao celebrated his goal by raising a shirt bearing the name of team mate Juan Fernando Quintero, who injured his anterior cruciate ligament playing for River Plate last weekend.

Tomiyasu had a great chance to make amends for his handball 13 minutes from the end but headed straight at Vargas.

The ever-lively Shoya Nakajima, one of the players to shine for Hajime Moriyasu's side, also went close, clipping the crossbar with a long-range effort.

Colombia substitute Luis Diaz also hit the bar in stoppage time but it didn't matter as they secured victory to continue their preparations for the Copa America in Brazil in June.

They next play South Korea on Tuesday, while Japan, as one of the two invited nations for the Copa, will have another chance to test themselves against South American opposition when they take on Bolivia.

They are without captain Maya Yoshida and striker Yuya Osako, who are being rested as some European clubs have raised concerns about the amount of football their Japanese players have been participating in.

The loss to Colombia was their 13th match since going out to Belgium in the last 16 of the World Cup in Russia.

I-League clubs willing to play Super Cup, if qualifiers restart

The  I-League clubs are willing to play the Super Cup after All India Football Federation's (AIFF) President Praful Patel reached out to them and assured of holding a meeting in mid-April.

"We are willing to play provided the qualifiers restart. The three clubs sacrificed not only for themselves but for all the nine clubs. So, all of us agree that we will play the Super Cup only if the qualifiers are played once again. All of us are standing together," goal.com quoted Ranjit Bajaj, owner of Minvera Punjab as saying.

"We have it in writing from all the clubs that they are not going to participate if the qualifiers are bypassed. AIFF has sent us (Minerva, Aizawl, Gokulam) the letters as well asking our stance (on Super Cup participation) and so I think they are willing to reschedule the qualifiers," he added.

Mohun Bagan also released a statement expressing gratitude to the AIFF President who offered to meet them in the month of April.

"We express our sincere gratitude to our President who has offered to meet us in spite of his hectic schedule. We duly take note of our President's advice and will ensure that the Sport of football will not suffer because of the differences. We reciprocate the goodwill gesture by giving our consent/willingness to play the 'SUPER CUP' with the request to start the competition afresh and reschedule the qualifying rounds," their statement read.

Nine I-League clubs had earlier decided to not take part in the Super Cup citing AIFF's unfair treatment towards them.

Mourinho targets June return to club management

Former Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho is targeting a return to club management during the close season in June and has an idea about the type of club he wants to take charge of, the Portuguese has said.

Mourinho has been out of a job since he was sacked by United in December following a dismal run of results that left the club sixth in the Premier League standings, 19 points behind league leaders Liverpool.

"What I have in mind is that I would like to be back in the summer, in June, for a new club, for a new pre-season," Mourinho told BeIN Sports.

"I know exactly what I don't want. That's the reason why I had to say (no) already to three or four different offers. And I know what I want, in terms of not a specific club but the nature of the job, the dimension of the job."

Mourinho had said in January that he was not sure if he would manage another club in England after stints with Chelsea and United.

The 56-year-old, however, ruled out taking the reins of a national team as he prefers the day-to-day work that comes with being a club manager.

"I don't think so," Mourinho said, when asked if he would take charge of a national team. "I think a national team job is a very specific job.

"I like daily football, I like daily work, I like many competitions, I like matches and I want to stay in football club level. But who knows?"

Source:
© Copyright 2019 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.
SHARE THIS STORYCOMMENT