Australian Open: Thiem savours 'epic' win over Kyrgios amid Djokovic struggles

By Sports Desk February 12, 2021

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  • De Minaur beats Korda to capture Libema Open crown De Minaur beats Korda to capture Libema Open crown

    Alex de Minaur overcame Sebastian Korda in straight sets to win the Libema Open title on Sunday, clinching a career-high placing in the ATP rankings in the process.

    The Australian needed one hour and 31 minutes on court to defeat Korda 6-2 6-4, meaning he triumphed at 's-Hertogenbosch without dropping a set in any round.

    Back-to-back breaks got De Minaur through the opener, and though Korda hit straight back following another break early in the second, De Minaur kept the pressure on and got his reward in the sixth game.

    De Minaur forced 14 break points overall while saving four of the six he faced, with Korda producing 26 unforced errors in an erratic performance.

    Data Debrief: De Minaur enjoying productive year

    After beating Casper Ruud to win the Mexican Open final in February, De Minaur has won multiple ATP crowns in a single year for the third time, also triumphing at Sydney, Atlanta and Zhuha in 2019 and in Antalya and Eastbourne in 2021.

    He had already clinched a new career-high ATP ranking of eighth with his semi-final win over Ugo Humbert, but he will now rise to seventh on Monday after lifting the trophy.

  • Raducanu turns down Olympic spot, Murray in squad Raducanu turns down Olympic spot, Murray in squad

    Emma Raducanu has turned down the chance to compete at the 2024 Olympics for Great Britain after being offered a wildcard spot by the International Tennis Federation (ITF).

    Two-time Olympic gold medallist Andy Murray was also offered a spot and will compete in what could be the final tournament of his career.

    Two spots are reserved for former Grand Slam winners, but Raducanu, the 2021 US Open champion, has decided against going to Paris as she continues her comeback from injury.

    Raducanu is ranked too low to automatically qualify after wrist and ankle surgery last year forced her away from the sport.

    She also missed the French Open, played on the same courts that will stage the Olympics, earlier this year to ensure she would be fit for the grass-court swing of the season.

    Iain Bates, head of GB's Olympic tennis team, said: "I have had various conversations with Emma over the last couple of weeks and a slightly longer period where it's very clear how much being part of a British team at an Olympics would mean to her.

    "I think she feels this isn't going to be the right timing for her for this summer.

    "She's hopefully got many Olympics ahead of her. I'm very comfortable with the decision that she's made."

    Meanwhile, Murray, who won gold in London 2012 and Rio 2016, will compete in his fifth Olympic Games and has been named alongside debutants Jack Draper, Cam Norrie and Dan Evans.

    Katie Boulter is also set to make her Olympic debut as the only British woman to qualify by ranking for the Games.

    The ITF will announce the full entry list for Paris 2024 on July 4.

  • Euro 2024 data dive: Goals galore on historic day at European Championships Euro 2024 data dive: Goals galore on historic day at European Championships

    After Germany's 5-1 win over Scotland in the Euro 2024 opener, the goals continued to fly in on a busy day of action on Saturday.

    Records were broken as Spain beat Croatia 3-0 and reigning champions Italy came from behind to beat Albania 2-1.

    Switzerland also dispatched Hungary 3-1 in the other Group A meeting to ensure things are finely poised going into the second round of matches.

    The 16 goals scored through the opening four matches of Euro 2024 so far are the most netted at this point of a European Championships or World Cup since Euro '76 (19).

    Using Opta data, we take a look at some of the other standout statistics from Saturday's action in Germany.

    Hungary 1-3 Switzerland: Swiss start in style

    Switzerland have only lost one of their last 15 games across all competitions (W7 D7), a 1-0 defeat to Romania in November 2023, after opening their Group A campaign with a 3-1 victory over Hungary.

    It was a tale of two emphatic maiden performances for the Swiss as Kwadwo Duah and Michel Aebischer became only the third and fourth players to score on their European Championship debut for Switzerland.

    That first-half dominance saw both players score their first-ever senior international goal, too, in what was Duah's second appearance and Aebischer's 21st for Switzerland.

    Aebischer also teed up Duah's well-taken opener in Cologne as the full-back became the first Switzerland player ever to both score and assist a goal in the same match at the Euros.

    Barnabas Varga – who became the fifth Hungarian to score on his European Championship debut – pulled one back with his seventh goal in his last 10 international appearances, with assisted help from Hungary's ever-reliant Dominik Szoboszlai.

    Since the start of 2023, Liverpool midfielder Szoboszlai has had a hand in 10 goals across 15 international appearances (six goals, four assists), though the Hungary captain could not stop a familiar European fate for Marco Rossi's men.

    Breel Embolo's cool, late lob sealed victory to leave Hungary with just two wins from their 12 matches at the European Championships (D4 L6), a win rate of 17 per cent. Among nations with five-plus games at the finals, only Romania (six per cent) and Poland (14 per cent) have a lower success ratio.

    This win also marked a special moment for Ricardo Rodriguez, who appeared for a 22nd game at a major international tournament (Euros/World Cup) – the outright most of any player for the nation.

     

    Spain 3-0 Croatia: Young guns steal spotlight

    Spain got a statement win against Croatia in their Euro 2024 opener, beginning a European Championship tournament with a victory by 3+ goals for just the second time, after their 4-1 win against Russia on MD1 of Euro 2008.

    The spotlight was shining on Lamine Yamal, who became the youngest-ever player to feature at the Euros, capping his historic appearance for La Roja with an assist for Dani Carvajal, who became Spain's oldest-ever goalscorer in the competition at 32 years and 156 days, on the stroke of half-time.

    In Yamal (16y 338d) and Pedri (21y 203d), Spain are the first side to have at least two players aged 21 or under create at least three chances for a side in a game at the Euros since Germany against Czechia in June 2004 (Phillip Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Lukas Podolski).

    Fifteen years Yamal's senior, Morata became Spain's outright second-highest goalscorer at major international tournaments with 10, and needs only three more to equal David Villa's record of 13.

    It was not the dominant performance people have come to expect from Spain though, as they had less possession than their opponents (47 per cent) for the first time in a competitive match since the Euro 2008 final, which they won against Germany (46 per cent), ending a run of 136 such matches where they had the majority of the ball.

    On the opposite side of the field, Luka Modric became the oldest player since Lothar Matthaus to appear in the European Championships at 38y 280d, but his experience could not prevent Croatia from suffering their joint-heaviest ever defeat at a major international tournament following 3-0 defeats to Portugal at Euro 1996 and Argentina at the 2022 World Cup.

    The Croatia captain also became just the third European player to appear in as many as nine separate editions of major international tournaments, after Matthaus (nine) and Cristiano Ronaldo (10, before Euro 2024).

    Italy 2-1 Albania: Azzurri nightmare soon turns into dream start

    As the reigning champions, Italy would have been fearing the worst after conceding the fastest goal in Euros history – Nedim Bajrami scored after just 23 seconds when Federico Dimarco gifted him a throw-in.

    However, Alessandro Bastoni's 11th-minute equaliser soon settled the nerves, with this the third-earliest time a game at the European Championships has seen both teams score, after Iceland v England in 2016 (sixth minute) and Russia v Spain in 1964 (eighth minute).

    The turnaround was complete with Nicolo Barella's 10th strike for the national side, and his goal-scoring touch proved golden once more – Italy have won all 10 games in which he has found the back of the net.

    Despite not getting on the scoresheet for the Azzurri, Federico Chiesa also impressed as he became the first player at the Euros to record at least three shots, three successful dribbles (four) and win possession in the final third at least three times since Denmark's Mikkel Damsgaard against Belgium in June 2021.

    Albania's goal came from their only shot on target in the match, though it means they have now scored in back-to-back games in the competition for the first time. Now, they need to find just their second-ever win at this tournament against Croatia on Wednesday.

    The Eagles will be glad to see the back of Italy having lost all five of their previous meetings with them in all competitions. However, only three teams have ever beaten them more times, with Spain, who they face in their final group game, topping that list (eight).

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