News from Sporting Agenda

 

  • Britain’s girls at the Federation Cup

    In the wake of Naomi Osaka’s stunning victory in the Australian Open, adding a second Grand Slam to her US Open crown, the Fed Cup tennis tournament has rolled into Bath, with Britain’s girls drawn at home for the first time since 1993. Having battled past Slovenia and Greece without too much difficulty over the first two days, Anne Keothavong’s team, comprising Konta, Boulter, Watson, Dart and Swan, just need to defeat Hungary to reach the final against Serbia or Croatia and have a chance of a World Group II play-off in April. With the anticipation and local support growing, it promises to be an exciting contest.

  • England’s cricketers

    Following two utterly abject performances in the first two tests against a resurgent West Indies side, England’s cricketers are staring down the barrel as the third and final test takes place at Darren Sammy Stadium in St Lucia. With this being their penultimate test match before the eagerly awaited Ashes against Australia in August, and not to detract from an excellent all round performance from the West Indies, England will need to up their game somewhat and show some fight, especially with the bat, in order to avoid a pitiful three-nil whitewash. Despite this, England remain the likely favourites for the World Cup this summer, such is the strength and power in their limited overs game.

  • England are eyeing up a Grand Slam win

    After an exhilarating opening weekend in Rugby Union’s Six Nations, with England overpowering Ireland, Wales completing a remarkable comeback against the error-strewn French and Scotland proving too strong for a competitive Italy, the second round of matches promises to be equally exciting. England will be eyeing up a Grand Slam if they can see off France, whilst the Irish will want to atone for their chastening defeat to England by beating an increasingly impressive Scottish side. Meanwhile, a much changed Welsh team will not be taking anything for granted as they travel to Rome to take on Italy with much to play for over the weekend.

  • Impressive wheelchair tennis from the Aussie Open

    Sporting Agenda’s very own Andy Lapthorne came within a whisker of adding a sixth Australian Open title to his growing list of successes, as he and his American partner David Wagner lost out on a third set tie-break in the quad wheelchair doubles final to the all Australian pairing of Alcott and Davidson. Played in what must have been extreme heat, this was a superb effort and will no doubt spur Andy on to even greater things over the coming months as his first opportunity to play at Wimbledon approaches. Meanwhile, the all British pairing of Alfie Hewitt and Gordon Reid made it to the men’s wheelchair doubles semi-finals in Melbourne, as did Lucy Shuker in the women’s wheelchair doubles, before losing on a tie break. All in all, a pretty impressive effort.

  • Round up from Melbourne

    Following Sir Andy Murray’s gutsy but gruelling five set defeat in Melbourne to Roberto Bautista Agut, during which his painful immobility was clear for all to see, and despite his subsequent but hopefully premature “retirement” announcement by the Australian Open organisers as they cynically tried in vain to make him cry, he is yet to rule out making this year’s Wimbledon his swansong. Fingers crossed that he can drag himself down to SW19 to give it one last shot, whilst allowing us all one last brief glimpse of one of the sport’s all-time greats. Meanwhile, the post-Murray future was not looking so bright, as any British singles interest was quickly snuffed out by the end of round two, with the likes of Watson, Edmund, Boulter, Norrie, Dart, Evans and Konta all suffering early defeats, although Evans received high praise from his victorious opponent, Roger Federer, whilst Konta’s match did not finish until 3am, with not option of postponement. However, the Murray name lives on in doubles, where Britain continues to thrive, as Jamie, with his Brazilian partner Bruno Soares, defeated the all British pair of Bambridge and O’Mara on their way to losing in the quarter-finals, as he did in the mixed doubles, in which Britain’s Neal Skupski made it all the way to the semi-finals. Meanwhile, fellow Brits Norrie, Inglot, Salisbury and Dart, along with their respective partners, also at least made it through a couple of rounds. And all this despite being controversially labelled by Dan Evans as singles failures, much to the annoyance of Jamie Murray, who is one of seven British doubles players ranked in the world’s top 60, more than from any other nation. Even without Sir Andy, Wimbledon 2019 should therefore still have plenty to offer the home supporters.

  • Aussie Open Finals Awaits

    Djokovic and Nadal are set to meet for the 53rd time this Sunday in the Australian Open Final and looking at the form curve of the two, either one of them could end up winning. Djokovic has a slight edge leading their encounters 27-25 and he also won their latest match at the Wimbledon semi-finals in 2018. The Serb also won an epic 6-hour final in Melbourne when the two giants met in 2012.

    Nadal is however on fantastic form and crushing Tsitispas in the semis, he hasn’t dropped a single set on his road to the final. One thing is certain: both Nadal and Djokovic are going to give it their everything.

  • Drama unfolds at the Australian Open

    The Aussie Open is already producing plenty of excitement in its first week, and none more so than the fallout in the Australian ranks. Bernard Tomic – so prodigious a talent in his early years that he reached the quarter finals at Wimbledon as an 18 year-old has ignited a furious row with Aussie Davis Cup captain and two-time Grand Slam winner Lleyton Hewitt. On Monday Tomic declared Hewitt had “ruined” the Australian Davis Cup system and said both Kokkinakis and enfant terrible Kyrgios had told him they do not want to play Davis Cup whilst Hewitt remains at the helm.

    Hewitt responded by saying his relationship with Tomic was irreparable as a result of physical threats and blackmail attempts from Tomic. What must be really galling for both Tomic and Kyrgios following their first round exits is the success of the new wave of Aussies which saw five young Australian men and women make it into the 3rd round for the first time in 15 years.

    This row, although unedifying, has been simmering away for quite some time and has overshadowed the disappointment of British tennis which has seen all our singles players exiting the tournament culminating with Jo Konta losing to Garbine Muguruza at the ungodly hour of 3.12am.