Tyson Fury urged UFC champion Francis Ngannou to "make some real money" by meeting him in the ring. 

Ngannou on Saturday defeated Ciryl Gane by unanimous decision to unify the UFC heavyweight division, a feat he achieved despite tearing his MCL in the build-up to the fight. 

The UFC 270 loss was the first of Gane's career, while Ngannou improved to 17-3 by extending his victorious streak to six fights. 

The Cameroonian is widely regarded as the hardest puncher in UFC and, with contract negotiations with the organisation dragging on due to a pay dispute, he has been heavily linked with a switch to boxing. 

WBC heavyweight champion Fury would relish the chance to take on Ngannou, suggesting it could put his financial concerns to bed. 

"Congratulations Francis Ngannou but if you want to make some real money, come see the Gypsy King," Fury posted on Twitter. 

Ngannou trained as a boxer in the early stages of his career in combat sports and expressed he remains keen to return to the discipline following his victory over Gane. 

"As I always say, boxing is always in the back of my pocket. It's something that I must do before the end of my career," he said. 

"And right now, I'm really looking towards any opportunity to get that because it's not like I had a lifetime here so I better start thinking about it." 

Thomas Pieters held his nerve in the final round to win the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship as overnight leader Scott Jamieson and other contenders fell away on Sunday.

The Belgian secured his sixth DP World Tour title with an even round of 72 to end the tournament on 10-under par, one shot ahead of Rafa Cabrera Bello and Shubhankar Sharma.

Pieters began the day tied for second but showed impressive control to card 16 pars, one birdie and one bogey, though was reliant on Cabrera Bello bogeying the 15th and 16th holes to edge ahead of the Spaniard.

Jamieson took a one-shot lead into the final day but produced seven bogeys in a five-over round of 77 to slip down to a joint-10th finish, while Shane Lowry also had a day to forget as he too hit 77 to drop 10 places to joint-12th.

The best rounds of the final day came from Adri Arnaus and Henrik Stenson who both carded seven-under rounds of 65, but both were already too far off the pace to trouble the leaders.

Tyrell Hatton managed a respectable round of 67 to climb to a final position of joint-sixth, while Rory McIlroy ended tied for 12th as his last round of 69 left him on a final score of five-under.

Pieters - who turns 30 next week - becomes the first Belgian to win a Rolex Series event, and hopes that his performance can inspire young golfers in his home country.

"I was well in control of my ball all day," he said after sealing victory. "The putting wasn't maybe there.

"I just hope all the juniors back at home are watching this. I used to watch as a kid and think it was impossible for me but then Nico [Colsaerts] came on the scene and started winning.

"It's stuff like that that inspires kids and hopefully I can do that back home."

Matteo Berrettini made Italian tennis history on Sunday as he blasted his way past Pablo Carreno Busta and into the Australian Open quarter-finals.

The seventh seed won 7-5 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 in a gruelling contest to set up a last-eight clash with Gael Monfils, who earlier beat Miomir Kecmanovic.

Berrettini is the first men's player from his country to reach the quarter-final stage of all four grand slams in the singles draw, and only the 10th active player to achieve the feat.

The 25-year-old only reached this stage of a major for the first time in 2019 and has since gone as far as the final in Wimbledon last year, where he lost to Novak Djokovic.

Having withdrawn from his round-of-16 match with Stefanos Tsitsipas in Melbourne in 2021 due to an abdominal injury, Berrettini was delighted to have progressed.

"It was really tough last year. I really wanted to play, but I couldn't with the tear in the ab," he said.

"But I believe there is a reason for everything that happens and I've been wishing to come back as soon as possible and the way I won today shows how much I care about this tournament."

Berrettini had luck on his side in the first set as two netcords on Carreno Busta's serve allowed him to break for a 6-5 lead.

Once ahead in the match, his serve and baseline power became too much for the Spaniard: Berrettini rained down 28 aces, winning 87 per cent of points behind his first serve, and hit 57 winners.

"I was really precise with my serving and he wasn't reading my serve, which is why I hit a lot of aces," he said.

Next up is a meeting with Monfils, who has now reached 10 slam quarter-finals in his career and a first in Australia in six years.

These two met at the same stage of the 2019 US Open, Berrettini prevailing in five sets after losing the first two. The winner could face Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals.

"It's been a long journey for me and I'm quite happy, but it's not finished," said Monfils. "I will try to play this quarter-final not like the last time. I will try to be better.

"It's an achievement but we're not quite finished yet."

World number one Ash Barty promised to carry on playing her own game after booking her spot in the last eight of the Australian Open.

Barty, the top seed, defeated Amanda Anisimova 6-4 6-3 on Sunday to progress to the quarter-finals in Melbourne for a fourth successive time.

Anisimova defeated last year's champion Naomi Osaka in the last round, but she proved no match for Barty, who sealed the win in 74 minutes.

Barty did see her run of holding serve ended, however, after 63 games without being broken, though it was a minor blip in another convincing win. 

Indeed, the 25-year-old has now won all four of her Australian Open ties without dropping a set.

Asked what was key to her dominant form, Barty said: "I think the most important thing is I just try to be me, continue to be me, that's all I can do.

"That's what I’m good at, that's who I and who I want to be."

Her comments were well received by the crowd at Rod Laver Arena, and Barty is delighted to be playing in front of spectators once again.

"The last two years have been extraordinarily tough for a lot of people around the world," she said.

"To have the crowd here, it brings a lot more to the tennis. It makes it a lot more enjoyable for me to play at home."

Barty struck seven aces and registered a first-serve percentage of 78, while also hitting 23 winners and making exactly half the amount of unforced errors as Anisimova (17 to 34).

"Amanda is an incredible athlete and incredible competitor. It's nice to see her back playing her best tennis," Barty continued.

"I enjoyed sharing the court with her and testing myself against her. It was nice to be able to hold firm tonight."

Asked in a post-match news conference about dropping serve for the first time in eight matches, Barty replied: "It didn't bother me too much.

"Honestly, I'm not counting how many games I hold in a row or not. The fact I was able to reset, break straight back, was really important, just to be able to reset myself, go again and continue to do the right things."

Next up for Barty, a two-time major winner who is yet to taste victory in her home grand slam, is another American in the form of Jessica Pegula, who upset fifth seed Maria Sakkari 7-6 (7-0) 6-3.

"It's going to be a challenge for me to try and push her off that baseline and make her uncomfortable and feel like she has to create," Barty told reporters.

"But I know that she's also going to be doing the exact same thing to me and trying to make me uncomfortable.

"That's the chess game that we play. You go out there and have fun with it, see who can execute better on the day, and that's about all there is to it."

Khris Middleton said the Milwaukee Bucks are having to learn how to win in different ways after impressing in the absence of Giannis Antetokounmpo against the Sacramento Kings.

Having needed to rely on an impressive defensive showing against the Chicago Bulls, it was the turn of the offense to turn it on in a 133-127 triumph against the Kings.

Middleton had 34 points, while Jrue Holiday put up 26 as the Bucks chalked up another tick in the win column despite Antetokounmpo missing out with soreness in his right knee.

"We just need to be able to win different type of ballgames," Middleton said after the defending champions moved to 29-19 on the season. 

''Every game is not going to be perfect, every game is not going to be pretty. To get defensive stops, to get 50-50 balls like we did [against the Bulls], it helps. 

"When you hit shots like we did tonight, it also helps."

Middleton made a key three-pointer with one minute and nine seconds remaining on the clock, with the Kings having fought back to within three points.

Holiday felt Middleton's effort was key in helping the Bucks get over the line.

"I feel like this is what he has been doing," Holiday said. ''He makes timely threes. He makes big shots, especially in that moment when they had momentum. He just came down and laced them, took advantage."

Donte DiVincenzo (20 points), George Hill (17) and Pat Connaughton (15) all made valuable contributions for Milwaukee to earn praise from Middleton.

"I think they were great," he added. 

"Pat got hot for us. George did a great job at the point guard position, just controlling the team. Defensively he was all over the place, coming down for rebounds and helping box out. 

"Pat has played so many different positions. It's weird to see him playing the center. He's a selfless guy doing anything that can help."

Denis Shapovalov said it is a privilege to be facing Rafael Nadal in the Australian Open quarter-finals after his win over Alexander Zverev, who conceded "everything" went wrong.

Zverev had been looking sharp in Melbourne over the last week, with the world number three not dropping a single set en route to the last 16.

Yet the Olympic gold medallist was on the end of a straight-sets loss on Sunday as he went down 6-3 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 to Shapovalov.

Zverev made 32 unforced errors, five fewer than Shapovalov, and managed to convert only two of five break points, with the German winning 46/67 first-serve points.

Asked what went wrong, Zverev bluntly told reporters: "Everything.

"It's no one else's fault. It's not the coach's fault, it's not my team's fault, it's no one else's fault. It's purely me.

"As world number three, I have to take responsibility for the things I do and don't do.

"I give credit to Denis. It's incredible that he's in the quarters, I think he deserves it. He's done a lot of work, improved his game.

"But I've got to look at myself. Today was just, in my opinion, awful from my side."

Shapovalov had lost to Zverev in the ATP Cup earlier this month, but after Sunday's win the duo's head-to-head record stands at 4-3 in the latter's favour.

The 22-year-old Canadian will now face Nadal, with the 20-time grand slam winner having progressed to his 14th Australian Open final by defeating Adrian Mannarino.

Nadal holds a 3-1 head-to-head record against Shapovalov, though this will be the first time the pair have met in a major.

"It's always an honour to go up against a guy like Rafa," said Shapovalov after reaching his first Australian Open quarter-final.

"It's always going to be a battle against him. It's going to be a tough one and I'm definitely going to enjoy it."

Reflecting on just his second career win over a player in the top five, Shapovalov said: "I think off the ground I was playing really well, really feeling my shots off both wings.

"I played pretty smart, it felt like things were going my way early on. I lost a little bit of momentum midway in the second set but fought well to come back and just kind of rolled with it after."

It was also the first time in the tournament that Shapovalov had not had to go to at least four sets.

"It's probably the one I least expected to finish in three. I'm very happy with my performance, definitely happy with where my game is at," he added.

Ash Barty's dominant form at the Australian Open continued as the world number one saw off Amanda Anisimova to reach the quarter-finals.

Anisimova shocked 2021 champion Naomi Osaka in the last round but the in-form Barty proved a step too far on Sunday.

Barty had not dropped a set in any of her previous matches and the Australian continued that trend with a 6-4 6-3 triumph that took just 74 minutes.

The 25-year-old missed five chances to break before she finally nosed herself ahead in a tightly contested first set when Anisimova went long.

Anisimova made the same mistake in the next game, failing to grasp the opportunity for an immediate response, and Barty struck a forehand winner to claim the set.

World number 60 Anisimova responded by racing into a 40-0 lead at the start of the second set, only for some sloppy shots to allow Barty to haul herself level.

The American held her nerve though and looked to be right back into it when she broke Barty in the next game.

Yet two-time major winner Barty hit straight back, with a missed backhand from Anisimova gifting her a reprieve, and she did not look back, holding serve before breaking again to go 4-3 ahead.

Anisimova saved two match points in her win over Osaka, yet another overhit backhand sent Barty through to a tie against Jessica Pegula at the first time of asking.

DATA SLAM: BARTY'S HOLD STREAK OVER

There was one negative for Barty, who failed to hold serve for the first time in 63 games when she was broken in the second set. However, the Queenslander responded to that streak ending with a display of her title-winning quality to reach a fourth successive Australian Open quarter-final.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Barty – 23/17
Anisimova – 20/34

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Barty – 7/3
Anisimova – 4/1

BREAK POINTS WON

Barty – 4/11
Anisimova – 1/5

Joe Burrow is "tired of the underdog narrative" and said the Cincinnati Bengals are "here to make noise" after toppling the Tennessee Titans to make the AFC Championship game.

Rookie Evan McPherson converted a last-gasp 52-yard field goal to send the Bengals to their first Championship Game since 1988 in a 19-16 win over the top-seeded Titans, while it represented their first ever postseason road win.

The question of "Why not us?" has been a common theme of the Bengals' postseason run but for quarterback Burrow that is a motto that is no longer relevant.

"I'm tired of the underdog narrative," said. "We're a really, really good team. We're here to make noise."

Burrow added that McPherson called nailing his game-winning kick.

"He [McPherson] gave a little warm-up swing and he said, 'Ahh, looks like we're going to the AFC Championship,'" Burrow said.

The Bengals managed to triumph despite Burrow being sacked nine times, tying the most in a playoff game in the Super Bowl era.

But they did also manage three interceptions, with Logan Wilson getting in the way of a Ryan Tannehill pass with 20 seconds left that ultimately set up McPherson's kick.

And Cincinnati coach Zac Taylor said there is no limit for his team.

"This is the expectation for this team," Taylor said. 

"This is not too big for these guys. I know we haven't been here before, but it sure feels like we have. You just see the attitude of this team and the confidence of this team that we're going to find a way to win."

Shortly before coming in for his news conference, defensive tackle D.J. Reader was asked what the Bengals' new team motto is if not "Why not us?"

He replied "it is us" before saying the team was motivated by what he felt has been disrespect from pundits this season.

Reader said: "As a journalist, do you want somebody to doubt your ability to do your job? No. It's disrespectful. 

"You gotta go out there and get it and take it. You gotta earn respect, though."

"We're confident in us. We feel like we [are] them. We're the people. We're going out there every game, feeling like we're confident, we're the ones that need to get beat."

Tannehill had an indifferent night for the Titans, completing 15 of 24 attempted passes for 220 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions.

It means the Titans suffered a third straight loss on home turf as the number one seed in the AFC, while their last home postseason victory came back in 2003.

Titans coach Mike Vrabel said: "I don't think Ryan or myself or anybody did enough to win the game. That's how it goes. 

"It's never going to be about one person, not as long as I'm head coach, which will be a while."

Kyle Shanahan had an inkling that the San Francisco 49ers' special teams would prove pivotal in their shock divisional round win over the Green Bay Packers.

The 49ers gained seven points on special teams and saved three on a night where Robbie Gould's walk-off field goal earned a 13-10 triumph to send San Francisco to the NFC Championship Game.

Green Bay had led for most of the game after AJ Dillon's first-quarter touchdown but the 49ers drew level late when Jordan Willis blocked Corey Bojorquez's punt allowing Talanoa Hufanga to collect the loose ball and run into the end-zone.

The 49ers regained possession with 3:25 to play, with the excellent Deebo Samuel helping drive them into field-goal range before 39-year-old Gould nailed his 45-yard attempt on the final whistle.

"We thought our special teams had an advantage in this game," head coach Shanahan said. 

"We thought they had an opportunity to possibly win us the game. And to be able to say that and to actually come to fruition was huge for those guys and huge for our team."

Gould, who has now succeeded with each of his 20 career playoff field-goal attempts, ensured his boot stayed hot in snowy conditions at Lambeau Field and quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo paid tribute to his team-mate, with a little pun thrown in for good measure.

"I always trust Robbie. He's as good as gold, man. He always is," he said.

Garoppolo added: "It's dangerous, man. When a team gets hot, it's dangerous.

"So we've just got to keep this thing going, focus on next week now, and keep this thing rolling.

"It took everything. We knew it was going to. I mean, it was just offense, defense, special teams - everybody stepping up and doing their part. I wouldn't have it any other way."

The stars certainly seemed to align for the 49ers, who lost to the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV, with Jimmie Ward having earlier blocked a 39-yard field goal attempt from Mason Crosby on the final play of the first half. Had he made the kick the Packers would have led 10-0.

Victory means the 49ers are headed to their 17th conference championship appearance, the most for any team since the conferences were forged following the 1970 merger.

With the Cincinnati Bengals having beaten the Tennessee Titans earlier in the day, it also meant it was the first time since 2010 both number one seeds lost in the divisional round in the same season.

George Kittle said the 49ers proved they are a "gritty" team to make it this far.

"This team has been through a lot," the tight end said. "We've been through a lot of adversity. 

"We've dealt with a lot. We've lost games by making mistakes. We've won games dirty. This is a gritty team. It's a salty team, and we just keep bouncing back."

Rafael Nadal reflected on being "a little bit lucky" to win a crucial first-set tie-break after he progressed to the Australian Open quarter-finals.

Nadal saw off Adrian Mannarino 7-6 (16-14) 6-2 6-2 on Sunday to seal his place in the last eight of the season's first grand slam for the 14th time.

The 20-time major winner, however, needed to overcome a stern challenge in the first set, winning a 30-minute tie-break.

Indeed, Nadal had to claw back four set points in the tie-break, before an early break in the second paved the way for a much simpler time from then on in against an opponent who had played late into the night in the previous round.

"The first set had been very, very emotional," Nadal said. "Anything could happen there. I was a little bit lucky at the end.

"Everybody knows how mentally [tough] this game is.

"It was a tough one and after that crazy first set, I think it was so important the break at the beginning of the second set.

"His ball was very difficult to control, very flat, very fast. I'm very happy that I survived that first set, without a doubt."

Nadal has only won the Australian Open once before, back in 2009, but his quest to land a record 21st grand slam title is going well so far.

"In this tournament I think I have been in a very good position to fight for it a lot of times in my career," Nadal added.

"I've always enjoyed playing in it a lot of times in my career. It's true that I was a little bit unlucky with injuries here, and sometimes I was unlucky because my opponents were a little bit better than me!

"But I've always enjoyed it and I'm very happy to be back in a quarter-final, it means a lot to me."

The Spaniard's hopes received another boost on Sunday, when world number three Alexander Zverev was knocked out by Canada's Denis Shapovalov, who will be Nadal's quarter-final opponent.

It will mark the fifth contest between 22-year-old Shapovalov and Nadal, with the latter having won three of their previous encounters.

"Shapovalov is a player with amazing potential," Nadal said.

"Everybody knows that when he's playing well, it's very difficult to stop him with [his] big serve, amazing forehand, and he's very quick."

Rafael Nadal overcame a marathon first-set tiebreaker to move into the Australian Open quarter-finals with a straight-sets win over French veteran Adrian Mannarino on Sunday.

Nadal continued on his search for a record-breaking 21st grand slam title with the 7-6 (16-14) 6-2 6-2 victory at Rod Laver Arena.

The Spaniard will take on either third seed Alexander Zverev or Canadian 14th seed Denis Shapovalov in the last eight on Tuesday. The win marks Nadal's 14th appearance in the Australian Open quarters.

Nadal has only dropped one set in his first four matches at the Australian Open but the opening set against Mannarino was epic, with the sixth seed edging his opponent after 80 minutes.

The 2009 Australian Open winner trailed 3-0 in the tie-break but fought back to level it up, eventually taking the set 16-14 with his seventh set point.

Nadal assumed complete control from that set on, dominating the second and third to win in two hours and 40 minutes.

The 35-year-old was powerful, sending down 16-7 aces, while he won 88 percent on his first serve across the match. Nadal only offered up two break points for the match.

DATA SLAM: Nadal on the right track

Nadal has dropped 38 games across his four matches at the Australian Open, making light work of Mannarino in the latter two sets which collectively took as long as the first.

The Spaniard won in Melbourne in 2009 but lost finals in 2012, 2014, 2017 and 2019, yet without Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer at this year's event it looms as his best chance for years to lift the title and he seems in good health and form. 

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Nadal – 42/22

Mannarino – 37/34

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Nadal – 16/6

Mannarino 7/4

BREAK POINTS WON

Nadal – 5/17

Mannarino – 1/2

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has offered a hint on his future after admitting he does not want to be part of a rebuild.

The top-seeded Packers were eliminated from the NFL playoffs on Saturday after a 13-10 loss to the San Francisco 49ers, with Rodgers failing to throw a touchdown pass.

The 38-year-old MVP contender nearly departed Green Bay last off-season and was pressed on his future following Saturday's elimination.

Rodgers has been with the Packers for 14 seasons for one Super Bowl and is under contract for next season.

"I don’t want to be a part of a rebuild if I’m going to keep playing so a lot of decisions in the next couple of months,” Rodgers said during the post-game press conference.

"I‘m gonna take some time and have conversations with the folks around here, and then take some time away and make a decision - obviously before free agency.

"It’s fresh right now. It’s a little shocking for sure… I haven’t even let the moment sink in yet."

He added: "There's a lot of players whose futures are up in the air, so definitely will be interesting to see which way some of those decisions will go.

"But I'll have the conversations with [Packers general manager] Brian [Gutekunst] in the next week or so and get a little bit more clarity and think about my own future and how much longer I want to keep doing this.

“I think this thing is definitely going to look different in Green Bay moving forward."

Rodgers conceded he would need to mull the "tough decision" but said he was still competitive and determined to play at the highest level.

Packers head coach Aaron LeFleur put his pitch forward, insisting he wants Rodgers to stay. The veteran QB had an outstanding season, with a 68.9 percent completion rate, throwing 4115 yards for 37 touchdowns with only four interceptions.

"Certainly, we want him back here," LaFleur told reporters about Rodgers. "We‘d be crazy to not want him back here.

“He’s going to be the two-time MVP. This guy does so much for our football team. Not only what you guys see on Sundays or every game day, but what he does in that locker room and how he leads.

“I know what he puts into this thing and I’m certainly extremely disappointed that we couldn’t get over the hump for not only him, but for everybody in that locker room.”

The Chicago Bulls have announced that guard Alex Caruso will miss six to eight weeks due to a wrist injury sustained in a controversial moment in Friday's 94-90 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks.

Caruso will undergo surgery early next week for a fractured right wrist, having been fouled by Milwaukee's Grayson Allen, who was subsequently ejected.

The former Lakers guard joins Lonzo Ball on the sidelines for the 28-16 Bulls, who have lost five of their past six games.

Caruso's agent Greg Lawrence called Allen's foul, deemed flagrant 2 by the officials, a "cheap shot" given the significant injury it had caused. Bulls head coach Billy Donovan had labelled Allen's act as "dangerous" after the game.

The 27-year-old guard played out the game but admitted his wrist continued to bother him, impacting his shooting.

The return of Anthony Davis is imminent with the Los Angeles Lakers listing the All-Star as "questionable" for Sunday's game against the Miami Heat.

Davis has been out of action since December 17 due to a sprained MCL in his left knee but he is considered a game-time decision for Sunday.

The Lakers, who are 23-23 this season, have gone 7-9 in Davis' absence across the past 16 games.

"Whenever AD is ready, we're going to love that, that's for sure," Davis' Lakers teammate LeBron James told reporters on Friday.

"I mean he's one of our biggest guns that we have, and having him on the floor, it just creates so much for us offensively and defensively, able to do so much more.

"But his health is what's most important, and once we know that he's healthy, he knows that he's healthy, we get him back on the floor and then we start getting his wind and his rhythm."

Davis is averaging 23.3 points, 9.9 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 2.0 blocks and 1.2 steals this season.

Current champion Francis Ngannou retained his UFC heavyweight title with a unanimous decision victory over Ciryl Gane in Anaheim on Saturday.

The Cameroon-born 35-year-old got the better of his former training partner Gane for the first victory by decision of his 17-3-0 UFC career.

Ngannou triumphed 49-46, 48-47 and 48-47, relying on grappling rather than his power to claim the win in his first title defence.

Gane utilised his movement and skill in the first two rounds to subdue Ngannou, who revealed after the bout he had torn his MCL and injured his ACL in training, limiting his agility.

Ngannou adopted a different strategy in the third round, taking down the surprised Gane to assume control. He utilised the same tactics to good effect in the fourth too.

Gane took down Ngannou in the fifth round but the current champion was able to sweep out and re-gain control.

“Three weeks ago I hurt my knee, tore my MCL completely," Ngannou said after the fight. "I wanted to call off the fight but couldn’t see myself retreating from this fight."

The victory may mark the end of Ngannou's time in the sport with his UFC contract due to expire and he admitted the lure of boxing remained.

“Boxing is always in the back of my pocket, it’s something I must do before the end of my career,” Ngannou said.

Figueiredo re-claims flyweight title

In the men's flyweight championship, the UFC's first Mexico-born champion Deiveson Figueiredo defeated Brandon Moreno by unanimous decision.

Figueiredo re-claimed the title he had lost to Moreno six months ago in the co-headline event with all three judges ruling 48-47 in his favour.

Michel Pereira beat Andre Fialho by unanimous decision in the welterweight division, while Said Nurmagomedov triumphed over Cody Stamann by first-round submission in the men's bantamweight.

Rafael Nadal overcame a marathon first-set tiebreaker to move into the Australian Open quarter-finals with a straight-sets win over French veteran Adrian Mannarino on Sunday.

Nadal continued on his search for a record-breaking 21st grand slam title with the 7-6 (16-14) 6-2 6-2 victory at Rod Laver Arena.

The Spaniard will take on either third seed Alexander Zverev or Canadian Denis Shapovalov in the last eight on Tuesday.

Nadal has only dropped one set in his first four matches at the Australian Open but the opening set against Mannarino was epic, with the sixth seed edging his opponent after 80 minutes.

The 2009 Australian Open winner trailed 3-0 in the tie-break but fought back to level it up, eventually taking the set 16-14 with his seventh set point.

Nadal assumed complete control from that set on, dominating the second and third to win in two hours and 40 minutes.

The 35-year-old was powerful, sending down 16-7 aces, while he won 88 percent on his first serve across the match. Nadal only offered up two break points for the match.

DATA SLAM: Nadal on the right track

Nadal has dropped 38 games across his four matches at the Australian Open, making light work of Mannarino in the latter two sets which collectively took as long as the first.

The Spaniard won in Melbourne in 2009 but lost finals in 2012, 2014, 2017 and 2019, yet without Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer at this year's event it looms as his best chance for years to lift the title and he seems in good health and form.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Nadal – 42/22

Mannarino – 37/34

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Nadal – 16/6

Mannarino 7/4

BREAK POINTS WON

Nadal – 5/17

Mannarino – 1/2

Khris Middleton stepped up in Giannis Antetokounmpo's absence with 34 points as the Milwaukee Bucks brushed aside the Sacramento Kings 133-127 on Saturday.

Antetokounmpo missed the game for the reigning champions with a knee injury but Middleton picked up the slack with 34 points including five triples along with six rebounds and five assists.

Jrue Holiday also contributed strongly with 26 points, five rebounds and four assists as the Bucks responded after a slow start with a 71-point second half.

Tyrese Haliburton was the Kings' best with 24 points including five three-pointers and 12 assists.

Milwaukee's 17th road win improves their record to 30-19, sitting fourth in the congested Eastern Conference standings.

 

OKC downed by Cavs

The Oklahoma City Thunder suffered their fifth straight loss, going down 94-87 to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Cavs, who are fifth in the east, were led by Darius Garland with 23 points and 11 assists along with Evan Mobley who had 15 points and 17 rebounds. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 29 points for OKC.

 

Booker off as Suns rise

Chris Paul produced a masterclass with 18 points and 16 assists as the Phoenix Suns flexed their muscle with a 113-103 win over the Indiana Pacers.

The Pacers had beaten the Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors on their road trip but the Suns were too hot to handle, even with Devin Booker only managing 11 points, shooting five-of-23 from the field.

The Green Bay Packers had a special teams' nightmare before Robbie Gould's final-whistle field goal clinched the San Francisco 49ers a spot in the NFC Championship Game with a 13-10 win in snowy conditions at Lambeau Field on Saturday.

The Packers had led for most of the game after AJ Dillon's first-quarter touchdown but the 49ers drew level late when Jordan Willis blocked Corey Bojorquez's punt allowing Talanoa Hufanga to collect the loose ball and run into the end-zone.

The 49ers regained possession with 3:25 to play, with Deebo Samuel helping drive them into field-goal range before 39-year-old Gould nailed his 45-yard attempt on the final whistle.

Samuel had 10 carries for 39 yards along with three catches for 44 yards and two kick returns for 59 yards, while 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo completed 11 of 19 passes for 131 yards with one interception.

San Francisco will face either the Tampa Bay Buccaneers or Los Angeles Rams in the NFC Championship Game, while it is season over for Aaron Rodgers' Packers.

Rodgers completed 20 of 29 passes for 225 yards but with no touchdowns, with running back Dillon scored their TD after a 10-play drive.

The Packers might have led 10-0 at the main break after Adrian Amos' pick, with Rodgers finding Aaron Jones for 75 yards although his run was curtailed. In the same drive, Green Bay kicker Mason Crosby had his 39-yard attempt blocked by Jimmie Ward on the half-time whistle.

The 49ers got on the board with Gould's third-quarter field goal, before the late drama with the veteran sealing their passage into the NFC Championship Game.

First day joint leader Lee Hodges returned to the summit alongside Paul Barjon after carding an eight-under 64 while world number four Patrick Cantlay slipped down the leaderboard on the third day at the American Express.

Event debutant Hodges responded after his second day 72 with a fine round that included six birdies on the front nine on the stadium course at La Quinta in California on Saturday.

Hodges is 18-under overall, sharing the lead with France's Barjon who carded a seven-under 65 on the stadium course to also soar up the leaderboard.

Cantlay, who had shared the lead with Hodges after the first day and was the outright leader after the second, carded four bogeys in his even-round 72 which saw him slide to 14-under overall.

Tom Hoge remains poised one shot off the leaders at 17-under overall, with five birdies and one bogey in his round of 68.

Ireland's Seamus Power is one stroke behind Hoge, with Harry Higgs, Hudson Swafford, Lanto Griffin, Cameron Young, Harold Varner III and Francesco Molinari all next best 15 under.

World number one Jon Rahm is not far behind, having carded a five-under 67 to be 13-under overall, while veteran Phil Mickelson missed the cut.

Page 1 of 319
© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.