Diamond Fields Advertiser : 2020-01-24

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SPORT PAGE 24 FRIDAY DIAMOND FIELDS ADVERTISER JANUARY 24 2020 Halep Darts in to the third round was unable to muster up as much as a single break point against the 19-time Grand Slam champion. The world No 1 was a little profligate with his break points, converting only three of 20, but still comfortabl­y moved through to a meeting with compatriot Pablo Carreno Busta. And Nick Kyrgios said he steered clear of a “very dark place” after suffering a minor meltdown during his 6-2, 6-4, 4-6, 7-5 win over Gilles Simon in the second round. The 23rd seed, Australia’s best hope of a men’s champion, appeared on course for a straightfo­rward victory with a cushion of two sets and a break against the 35-year-old. But things suddenly went awry when back-to-back double faults put the set back on service before another error set up a break for the Frenchman to win the third set. “I definitely lost my way a little. He’s a tough competitor. He knows how to win matches … I could have gone to a very dark place in the fourth set but I somehow put it away,” said Kyrgios, who will meet Russia’s Karen Khachanov next. the fourth attempt. “I was leading pretty well. But then, I don’t know what happened, I lost the focus a little bit, and she started actually to play free. She didn’t miss that much anymore. “But I’m happy that I could hold that last game. That was important,” said Halep, who next faces Kazakhstan’s Yulia Putintseva. Despite the loss, Dart’s performanc­e was a marked improvemen­t on her appearance at last year’s Open, when she failed to win a game during a first-round thrashing by Maria Sharapova. Meanwhile, top seed Rafa Nadal continued his relentless progress through the draw yesterday, muscling his way into the third round with a commanding 6-3, 7-6 (7/4), 6-1 victory over Argentine Federico Delbonis. The Spaniard, hunting for a second Australian Open title 11 years after his first, has now lost only three sets in his last nine matches at Melbourne Park – all in his defeat to Novak Djokovic in last year’s final. World No 76 Delbonis never looked like adding to that tally in the two and a half-hour contest on Rod Laver Arena, particular­ly as he WHEN Simona Halep pledged to donate A$200 to bushfire relief every time she gave her coach a hard time during her matches in Australia this month, she was ready for the final total to be a hefty sum. However, her Australian coach Darren Cahill joked that Halep had earned a half-price discount yesterday as she had reached the third round of the Australian Open with a fairly drama-free 6-2, 6-4 win over British qualifier Harriet Dart. “He (Cahill) told me actually that he cut everything at 50 percent because I won the match. I could finish the second set. So I’m in a good position,” the 28-year-old Romanian said with a smile. But before anyone started thinking that Halep was slashing her donation, she added: “Definitely I will donate everything I have done today.” The Wimbledon champion is among a host of athletes who have pledged to donate funds in support of relief and recovery efforts for victims of Australia’s bushfire catastroph­e. Halep cruised through her first set against Dart but her focus wavered while serving for the match, she attempted to serve out for the win for a second time, slapping her thighs and berating herself after missing on her third match point. She finally clinched the victory on up 5-2 in the second. When the 173rd-ranked Briton broke Halep, the twice Grand Slam champion muttered angrily towards Cahill. Halep continued to struggle as REUTERS Sensationa­l Sully clinches thriller for Australia sport DAVE ALEXANDER CORRESPOND­ENT 21. The pick of the Aussie bowlers was Sully with 2/39 from his 10 overs. Australia were in trouble early losing their first wicket in the third over. However, they fought back and produced a 51-run second-wicket partnershi­p between Sam Fanning and skipper Mackenzie Harvey. Harvey and Lachlan Hearne then put on a useful third-wicket partnershi­p of 83, before Harvey was out for a well-played 65. The Australian­s soon found themselves at 164/5, still requiring 77 from 62 balls, and the English bowlers started turning in the screws. Meanwhile, the Aussies were losing wickets at regular intervals. But then Sully, thanks to some powerful striking at the death took his team over the line and as a result, was named Man of the Match for his efforts. AND AFTER their initial wobble in their opening match against the West Indies last week, the Australia Under-19 team kept their upward momentum going when they clinched a nailbiter against England in their ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup clash at the Diamond Oval yesterday. The Australian­s scraped home by two wickets off the final ball of the game, overhaulin­g England’s total of 252/7, and breaking the English hearts in the process thanks to a match-winning innings at the death by Connor Sully who bludgeoned 35 off 20 balls (3x6s, 1x4) to take his side home to their score of 253/8. The Australian­s were high on confidence after Tuesday’s big win over Nigeria at the Country Club B field, winning that game by 10 wickets. However, yesterday it was not a walk in the park with the England team seemingly in control of the match until the very end when Sully and batting partner Todd Murphy cut loose. Australia won the toss on a hot Kimberley morning and sent England in to bat first. The opening pair, The Australian bowlers bowled very well and that was backed up with some excellent fielding which further restricted the run flow. At the change-over the run-rate set for Australia was five runs per over, with England ending their 50 overs on 252/7, Dan Mousley 51 not out and Kasey Aldridge 32 not out, putting on 60 runs for the 8th wicket. The only other batsman to make an impression was Joey Evison with Ben Charleswor­th and Jordan Cox put on a great opening partnershi­p of 67 before Cox was caught and bowled for 25. Charleswor­th and Jack Haynes went on to post a thirdwicke­t partnershi­p of 64 before Haynes was caught at cover for 31. Charleswor­th went on to score a brilliant 82 from 100 balls, before being dismissed with the total on 146/5, with England losing three wickets in the space of five runs. SCORE AT COUNTRY CLUB B: West Indies vs Nigeria WEST INDIES Under-19s Batting: (8 wkts) ............. 303 Kimani Melius (cpt) 65, Matthew Patrick 68, Joshua James 43 ...................................... 57 Jayden Seales 4/19, Ashmead Nedd 3/11 West Indies win by 246 runs NIGERIA Under 19s Bowling: RESULT: Visser keen to grab his chance in Hamilton WYNONA LOUW call-up on the final day when Kurtlee Arendse picked up an injury. He also played in the final, which New Zealand won 7-5. While he’s be especially motivated this weekend, Visser highlighte­d the importance of contributi­ng to the team effort. “In this squad, it is never about yourself – you need to put the team first and contribute, and that will be my goal, just to make sure my personal performanc­e is one I am proud of and is beneficial to the team effort,” he said. which demanded that you give your best. “You do feel bad when you are not in the team, but there is a bigger picture and it is not the end of the world. “Emotionall­y one gets down a bit and there are some thoughts going through your head. You question your abilities, but for me that only lasted for a short while. It is all about how you use the opportunit­y that you are given, and I am keen to grab mine this weekend,” he said. Visser was the official reserve for the Cape Town Sevens and got a out on the opening leg of the 2019/20 Series was disappoint­ing, is looking forward to making the most of his opportunit­ies in the third tournament of the season. “We all know that 2020 will be a tough year in that regard as coach Neil Powell wanted to give the wider group an opportunit­y to stake a claim for the final squad that will go to the Olympics,” said Visser. “Not to be part of the first squad for Dubai was disappoint­ing, but only mentally. Physically, I was still on the field with like likes of Branco, Cecil, Werner and Angelo, BLITZBOKS forward Impi Visser says he’s keen to grab his chance when they go up against Japan, England and Kenya in a tough Pool B at FMG Stadium Waikato this weekend. Visser missed out on the World Sevens Series opener back in December, but he did travel to Dubai as a member of the SA Rugby Sevens Academy, a group that featured the likes of Branco du Preez, Cecil Afrika, Werner Kok and Angelo Davids and went on to win the Internatio­nal Invitation­al tournament. All those players are part of the squad for the Hamilton leg, and Visser, who admitted that missing (pictured) BLITZBOKS’ HAMILTON SCHEDULE Tomorrow: vs Japan (2.03am SA time); vs England (7.30am) vs Kenya (1.13am) 9.56am Sunday: Final: