Diamond Fields Advertiser : 2020-01-23

Sport : 14 : 14


SPORT PAGE 14 THURSDAY DIAMOND FIELDS ADVERTISER JANUARY 23 2020 WILLIAMS HAS TOO MUCH POWER and they could be set for a quarter-final clash at Melbourne Park after Gauff reached the third round earlier yesterday. “I think she (Gauff) has a good chance to keep winning. She’s a fighter. I have to do what I do, play everyone at every point, so we’ll see,” Williams said. The 38-year-old was dominant in the first set against Zidansek, wrapping up the opener in just over half an hour. she hoped to play at the Tokyo Olympics in July, but acknowledg­ed stiff competitio­n with seven US women vying for four available Games berths. “Yeah, it’s a lot of Americans,” she said. “We’ll see. Hopefully I can make it. If not, it’s not the end of the world. I’ve played a lot of Olympics, so it will be good.” Meanwhile, third seed Roger Federer hit winners at will in an imperious display as he cantered into the third round with a 6-1, 6-4, 6-1 thumping of Serb Filip Krajinovic. The six-time champion appeared to be in a hurry to finish the contest, breaking his opponent’s serve twice in the first two sets and thrice in the third. Krajinovic took a medical timeout to have his right upper arm attended with Federer leading 2-1 in the third set but it made no difference to the 20-time Grand Slam champion, who ended the contest in a little over 90 minutes. SERENA Williams powered her way into the third round of the Australian Open with a 6-2, 6-3 victory over Slovenian Tamara Zidansek yesterday with an erratic performanc­e before crediting her love of dancing for helping keep training fun. After becoming frustrated with her error count on Rod Laver Arena, the 23-time Grand Slam champion was in a much lighter mood after organisers played a viral video of her performing a vibrant hip-hop routine during her post-match interview. “I always dance. I’m not the best dancer, but I love dance,” Williams said. “It’s nice and fun to do. It’s different. It’s better than just going to the gym every day.” The video, which first made its way online in November, also featured American teenage sensation Coco Gauff, who spent time training with compatriot Williams during the off-season. The 15-year-old is in the same half of the draw as Williams Unforced errors But the 70th-ranked Slovenian defended impressive­ly in the second set, saving seven break points as Williams racked up the mistakes, ending the match with 28 unforced errors. Zidansek, however, could not keep up the resistance and Williams clinched victory with a cross-court forehand winner to set up a meeting with China’s Wang Qiang. Looking ahead, Williams said REUTERS Gans has big shoes to fill at the Blitzboks are the two most capped Blitzboks ever, and Cecil Afrika is the leading points scorer of all time. And they are playing next to me this weekend. It will help a lot as I can focus on my role as a player without having to worry about the rest of the guys,” Gans said. Gans also added that the new format for the Hamilton tournament shouldn’t be too massive an adjustment for them. “We are lucky in that we already have a system in place that does not look too far ahead – we believe in the first game on the first day and adjust from there,” said Gans. the weekend.” Gans said that playing under great Blitzbok captains of the past has helped prepare him for the role. “I came into the team when Kyle Brown and then Philip Snyman were the captains and last year, Siviwe Soyizwapi took over,” he said. “They are great people and great players and I learned a lot from them, on and off the field. “It is big shoes to fill, but the examples set were great, so I know what to do. And then there’s also the experience he will have around him … “I am very lucky to have some very experience­d players around me. Branco du Preez and Chris Dry captain in Stedman Gans, while five players will get a taste of the 2019/20 series for the first time. Neil Powell’s team will face Japan, England and Kenya in a very competitiv­e Pool B this weekend, but for Gans it all adds to the motivation of the individual and the squad. “I saw so many of these pictures in the past, and never realised that I will be featuring in it myself in future,” said Gans, who attended the traditiona­l captain’s photo yesterday at the iconic Hamilton Gardens. “It was a massive feeling, standing amongst some great captains and great teams that will play on “THAT FORMAT” will come into play this weekend … Thanks to World Rugby, there have been changes made to two legs of the World Sevens Series, which will now see truncated legs in Hamilton and Sydney as the quarter-final stage has been removed from the schedule for those two events. This means only the four pool winners in New Zealand and Australia make it into the semi-finals, and not the top two teams. Dramatic, right? But that won’t be the only change the Blitzboks will experience at Waikato Stadium. They will run out with a new WYNONA LOUW Age won’t hold Tiger back as he chases No 83 sport FLASHES Woods said keeping his cool was a key to his success since he can no longer overpower the field with his driver like he did in his prime. “Managing adrenaline takes a little bit of time,” said Woods, who matched Sam Snead’s long-held record of 82 PGA Tour wins at the Zozo Championsh­ip in October. “I’m so amped up to play that I really have to dumb myself down. Sometimes I need to take a step back and calm down before I’m ready.” Woods marvelled at being paired this week with 22-year-old rising star Collin Morikawa, who was not even born when Woods turned profession­al. “That’s one of the neat things about this sport. It does not just encompass a few years,” he said. “To be considered a good player in football, maybe you can get to a decade of playing in the league. Here we’re measured by decades played, which is very different. “Arnold (Palmer) and Jack (Nicklaus) and Gary (Player) have been pro for over 50 years. “It’s a different sport but it’s neat to see the young kids come out.” World No 6 Woods this week will battle a star-studded field including defending champion Justin Rose, four-times major winner Rory Mcilroy and three-time major winner Jordan Spieth. TIGER Woods has acknowledg­ed age is increasing­ly affecting his game but said on Tuesday he was in a good place as he bids for a recordbrea­king 83rd PGA Tour victory in Torrey Pines this week. The American, who makes his season debut at the Farmers Insurance Open today, said he was blessed to be competing after back injuries threatened to end his storied career. “When I was younger, I had more good days than bad,” Woods told reporters on a cloudy day at the oceanside course. Sidelined “Now that I’m 44, I feel more bad days than I do good days. I think all of you who are my age or older can relate to that,” he said with a smile. “That’s the hardest part of being an older athlete.” The 15-time Major champion said he did not get bogged down thinking about what might have been if injuries and surgeries had not sidelined him for stretches of his career. “There were a number of years where I didn’t compete and didn’t play so those were some missed opportunit­ies,” he said. “But granted, I’m playing again now so these are blessed opportunit­ies. I didn’t think I would have these.” Despite his veteran status, DARTS REUTERS