The Reuters global sports blog
Rafa Nadal was stunned 6-4 6-2 6-3 by fellow Spaniard David Ferrer in the Australian Open quarter-finals on Wednesday, ending his quest for a non-calendar grand slam.
A leg injury contributed to the defeat but maybe the task of holding all four majors at once is almost impossible these days, despite Nadal and Roger Federer’s dominance.
This loss is unlikely to affect the Spaniard greatly going forward. The way he bounced back from adversity last year was remarkable and Federer will know the battle is only just beginning.
Nadal was in tears and had his head in his hands at one point, the pain of the injury and the weight of expectation just proving too much.
from Reuters Soccer Blog:
The British media furore over two television presenters’ sexist comments over a lineswoman at a Premier League match at the weekend has thrown the spotlight on the subject of women in soccer – be it on the pitch or off.
Sky Sports duo Richard Keys and Andy Gray have apologised for saying female officials “don’t know the offside rule” when they were talking about lineswoman Sian Massey at Saturday’s match between Wolves and Liverpool when they thought their microphones were switched off.
Given the nature of American football, Super Bowls inevitably get billed as a battle of two quarterbacks and this year’s finale features two of the most entertaining in the game – Pittsburgh Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger and Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers.
It is, of course, a gross over-simplification to view the complexities of the game as simply a contest between the two men who take the snaps.
Francesca Schiavone and Svetlana Kuznetsova rescued the
women’s singles at the Australian Open from anonymity on Sunday
when they contested a four hour 44 minute epic that contrasted sharply with some of the dross served up by their rivals.
The third set alone lasted three hours as Italian Schiavone, a breath of fresh air for women’s tennis at the ripe old age of 30, edged a fourth round thriller 4-6 6-1 16-14.
That was another great football weekend made all the more exciting for the Lineman by going a very respectable 3-1. Only two games this week and both look like crackers. Enjoy.
Playoffs: 5-3. Pick of the Week 1-1.
Last week: 3-1
Regular Season Record: 53-49
PICK OF THE WEEK:
Green Bay Packers (12-6) at Chicago Bears (12-5) (Line Packers minus-3.5): I backed the Pack to get to the Super Bowl when the season started and there is no reason to slip off the Green Bay bandwagon now.
from Reuters Soccer Blog:
If eyebrows were raised when Aston Villa decided to spend up to 24 million pounds on striker Darren Bent then former manager Martin O’Neill’s forehead must have been pinned to his living room ceiling when the news broke on Tuesday.
The absurdity of the switch lies not in the inflated figure or Bent’s abilities on the pitch and in front of goal, but in the timing of Villa chairman Randy Lerner choosing to dig deep into his pockets.
Fourteen days, seven matches, 21 winning sets and at least 126 winning games – that is all that is separating Rafael Nadal from pulling off the “Rafa Slam”.
It all looks simple enough in numbers but reality is that, and as many calculator-bashing accountants will acknowledge, it takes a lot of work to make sure all the numbers add up correctly.
The cornerstone of Australia’s past and many successes was often their stubbornness and competitiveness but with the nation at an all time low the new way forward is honesty and the equation is a basic one.
Elementary, Shane Watson.
The man can bat, bowl and field, as he showed during the 3-1 Ashes defeat to England and the two Twenty20 internationals, but what was most notable about the all-rounder was his honesty in front of cameras.
Brendan Venter, Saracen’s idiosyncratic coach, has returned home to South Africa leaving opinion sharply divided in Britain after a surreal televison interview which has won him a cult following on YouTube.
In response to nine questions in 57 seconds, Venter parodied a parody after Saracens had lost a Heineken Cup match to Racing Metro.
The Lineman is only sure of one thing this weekend and that is that football fans are in for a real treat with all four games shaping up as potential classics.
It was a rough ride for home teams last weekend with only the Seattle Seahawks surviving and who says you need an elite quarterback to win in the playoffs.