2021 Australian Open: What to Watch on Tuesday Night


Rod Laver Arena | 11 p.m. TuesdayAndrey Rublev vs. Daniil MedvedevAndrey Rubley and Daniil Medvedev secured the ATP Cup for Russia earlier this month, with neither player losing a singles match throughout. In their three meetings on the ATP Tour, Medvedev has come out on top each time, including in the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open in September.This may be Rublev’s chance to finally overcome his friendly rival. He has looked particularly dominant, not dropping a set throughout the tournament. His match against Casper Ruud ended after only two sets when the Norwegian withdrew with an injury. Going into the quarterfinals, Rublev has led the field in both percentage of first service points won and second service points won, a sign of how hard it has been for opponents to break his serve.Medvedev has also been playing well, aside from a chaotic, disorganized third round match against Filip Krajinovic. He has now won 18 matches in a row, with his last loss coming in October at a tournament in Vienna. Although the fast surface fits Medvedev’s flat baseline shots, Rublev’s open stance is well suited in defense, and we’re sure to see many dynamic, aggressive point.Rod Laver Arena | 3:30 a.m. WednesdayRafael Nadal vs. Stefanos TsitsipasRafael Nadal, the No. 2 seed, has moved smoothly through the first four rounds, no surprise for a player with 20 Grand Slam titles. Although Nadal won his only Australian Open title over a decade ago, he has reached the finals on four other occasions since, and is a clear favorite in his half of the draw to do so again. Nadal’s powerful topspin shots are well-suited to clay courts where he can drag opponents around with tightly angled shots. Nadal’s ability to exploit his opponent’s weaknesses with relentless pressure can break most players on their best days.Stefanos Tsitsipas, the ATP finals winner in 2019, is a study in unpredictability. The fifth seed has a capable all-court game, but lacks the consistency to execute match after match. The 22-year-old has worked to improve this aspect of his game, but needed five sets to push back unseeded Thanasi Kokkinakis in the second round. After receiving a walkover in the round of 16, Tsitsipas will be well rested and hoping for an advantage against one of the most mentally tough players on tour.

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Women’s CL last-16: Chelsea draw Atleti; Man City vs Fiorentina


Chelsea have been drawn against Atletico Madrid in the Women’s Champions League last 16 while Manchester City face Fiorentina.WSL leaders Chelsea will come up against a familiar face in Toni Duggan with the England international helping Atletico knock Manchester City out of the tournament at the same stage last season.
Emma Hayes’ side, semi-finalists in 2018 and 2019, have been in stunning form over the past year, going on a record-breaking 33-game unbeaten run which was only recently ended by a shock home defeat to Brighton.Meanwhile, Gareth Taylor’s City will also play their first leg at home, against a Fiorentina side that finished second in Serie A last season but is off the pace this term, lying fourth and 16 points off pacesetters Juventus.City, semi-finalists in 2017 and 2018, will also be buoyed by the fact the Italians were beaten 6-0 on aggregate by Arsenal in last season’s competition.
Holders Lyon, who have won a record seven titles and made it five in a row last season, face Danish side Brøndby.
The only other past champions still in the competition is Wolfsburg who face Norwegian side LSK Kvinner – the former club of interim England head coach Hege Riise
First legs are scheduled to be played between March 3 and 4, with the return fixtures expected to take place between March 10 and 11.The final will be played at Gothenburg’s Gamla Ullevi stadium on May 16.

Image:
Manchester City were knocked out of the competition at the Round of 16 stage by Atletico Madrid and Toni Duggan last season

Full draw as follows: Wolfsburg (GER) vs LSK Kvinner (NOR)Barcelona (ESP) vs Fortuna Hjørring (DEN)Rosengård (SWE) vs St. Pölten (AUT)BIIK-Kazygurt (KAZ) vs Bayern München (GER)Manchester City (ENG) vs Fiorentina (ITA)Sparta Praha (CZE) vs Paris Saint-Germain (FRA)Lyon (FRA) vs Brøndby (DEN)Chelsea (ENG) vs Atlético de Madrid (ESP)Watch the Women’s Football Show on Friday at 6pm on Sky Sports Football.

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Cleveland Cavaliers 98-129 Golden State Warriors: Twitter erupts as Stephen Curry and Draymond Green showcase their supremacy


The Golden State Warriors made the most of a second-quarter burst to eventually down the Cleveland Cavaliers 129-98. Stephen Curry and Draymond Green made several highlight plays to get the job done for the home side at the Chase Center.The duo didn’t even have to feature in the fourth quarter with six Golden State Warriors scoring in double digits to close out the game with ease. They even restricted the Cleveland Cavaliers well who shot less than 40% from the field.Cleveland Cavaliers get going early but Golden State Warriors eventually take controlIt was a fairly close affair in the first quarter. Stephen Curry stepped up for the Golden State Warriors and scored a quickfire 16 points but the Cleveland Cavaliers responded well. The likes of Collin Sexton and Jarrett Allen kept them in the running.Things changed towards the end of the second quarter where the Golden State Warriors went on a 23-8 lead to finish the first half with a 10-point advantage. The Cleveland Cavaliers couldn’t recover from there as the Dubs extended their advantage in the third quarter thanks to the playmaking of Draymond Green.The Warriors have held their opponent to 105 points or less, and 40.6% FG shooting or less, in 4 of the last 5 games— Grant Liffmann (@GrantLiffmann) February 16, 202128 games into the season, the Warriors are the 8th seed in the West with a 15-13 record.Not too bad for the projected 14th seed ahead of the season. pic.twitter.com/GYc8ifhLdt— r/Warriors (@GSWReddit) February 16, 2021I’d say it’s not the Cavs night. But not their month might be more accurate— 𝙅𝙪𝙨𝙩𝙞𝙣 𝙍𝙤𝙬𝙖𝙣 🇨🇦 (@Cavsanada) February 16, 2021

Weird to see the Cavs down 20 against the Warriors. Usually doesn’t happen until June— Rashad (@rashadalaiyan) February 16, 2021Whispers* the nets showed how to stop a lot of the warriors plays….. (continues to whisper) but hopefully the rest of the league didn’t watch— IN THE LAB (@DevInTheLab) February 16, 2021Stephen Curry and Draymond Green too hot to handle for Cleveland Cavaliers The two veterans rose to the occasion again

Stephen Curry continued his tremendous campaign with another outstanding performance. He had 36 points for the Golden State Warriors tonight on 13-of-19 shooting including seven made threes. He’s on course to become only the third player in NBA history to record a 5-40-90 clip in multiple seasons alongside Larry Bird and Steve Nash.Curry was aided in his efforts by Draymond Green who’s been flawless as the primary playmaker for the Golden State Warriors. He’s averaged 11.6 assists per game since the start of February and had 16 dimes against the Cleveland Cavaliers.Steph Curry is averaging 30/6/5 on 50/44/94 splits.He’s carrying a team missing Klay Thompson and ALL 3 big men to a playoff spot in the West. Stop saying he’s in the MVP conversation…he IS the MVP. pic.twitter.com/sXHbJSB6mA— Guru (@DrGuru_) February 16, 2021

Steph Curry and Draymond Green, it turns out, are good basketballers.— Golden State of Mind (@unstoppablebaby) February 16, 2021Curry is very nearly doing 50 40 90 on 30ppg while teams main goal is to harass him as much as possible since his star teammates are goneThis is going to be funny forever— Dom2K☘🤦🏾‍♂️ (@Dom_2k) February 16, 202110 straight games with 27+ points for Steph Curry is the longest such streak of his career— Grant Liffmann (@GrantLiffmann) February 16, 2021Draymond’s passing x Steph’s gravity is the most lethal offensive combo in basketball— Antonin (@antonin_org) February 16, 2021

Draymond is avg’ing more assists (8apg) than points (5.2ppg). Who is the last qualified starter to do that?— sam esfandiari (@samesfandiari) February 16, 2021The Golden State Warriors will now take on the Miami Heat on Wednesday. Meanwhile, the Cleveland Cavaliers will look to end their eight-game losing streak against the San Antonio Spurs.Also read: “Do you not think that affects someone mentally?” Draymond Green blasts the NBA for differential treatment of teams and players in trade situations
Published 16 Feb 2021, 12:08 IST

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GGPoker Adds More Variety to No-Strings-Attached “Daily Freebie” Promotion

Verified players can continue to play a real-money game, such as Flip & Go and Spin & Gold, for free each and every day.One of the most popular promotions for low stakes players on GGPoker has been further expanded.

During the software update on February 10, the Daily Free Spin promotion changed to Daily Freebie. Furthermore, UK players can now also claim the daily gift for a chance to boost their bankrolls.

All players, both existing and new, just need to have verified accounts and log in each day to claim their gift, which lets plays play real money tournaments—and compete for real money cash prizes.

The update has expanded what is given away. Now, there are Daily Freebie tickets for Flip & Go, the super-successful new format introduced in January 2021. It has also undergone some changes since its launch, with GGPoker increasing the frequency and adjusting the buy-ins as well as the maximum number of stacks for purchase.

“GGPoker is happy to confirm that we’ve relaunched our Daily Free Spin offer as the Daily Freebie; verified players can continue to play a real-money game, such as Flip & Go and Spin & Gold, for free each and every day. All they need to do is log in and claim their daily reward!” said Paul Burke, Head of Public Relations at GGPoker.

“We hope to continue to change up the rewards on offer in the future, giving all players the opportunity to try out GGPoker’s most exciting games, no matter their bankroll.”

For existing players, Daily Freebie is available immediately—just log in and claim.

If you haven’t yet signed up, you can do so today and enjoy the promotion as soon as you have verified your account. You can also take advantage of all of GGPoker’s generous welcome bonuses.

How the GGPoker Daily Freebie Promotion Works

The operator has seen unprecedented growth in 2020 to become one of the leading online poker platforms for tournaments and cash games. GGPoker has achieved that with a plethora of promotions, innovations, and high-profile partnerships. Their continued success has led to a record $7.5 million in promotions given away in February 2021.

One of several promotions for players with smaller bankrolls is the Daily Freebie formerly the Daily Free Spin.

This was launched on September 7, 2020. It has given verified players the opportunity to claim one $0.25 Spin & Gold ticket every day ever since. The free ticket courtesy of GGPoker continues to be available under the new name three times per week—*but this rotates with other ticket types.*

Players can see the next six upcoming Daily Freebies listed under the “My Promo” tab. A new daily gift becomes available after each daily reset at midnight Pacific time. Each ticket will continue to feature an expiration date of 24 hours once the Daily Freebie has been awarded.

The current rotation of Daily Freebie is fixed for the time being. However, GGPoker hopes “to change the daily prizes on a semi-regular basis,” according to Burke. He also hinted at a strong possibility that the Daily Freebie will include the alternative currencies C$ or T$ sometime soon.

Newly included as a prize in the Daily Freebie is a $1 Spin & Gold ticket, which can be claimed once per week. Furthermore, five $0.05 Flip & Go tickets are up for grabs three times per week, giving players the chance at trying the new tournament format free of charge.

As a mixture between a Flipout and regular tournament, Flip & Go was launched on January 12, 2021. However, it only took a few days for the first tweaks to be made. Initially slated to take place once every hour, it was soon increased to once every 30 minutes.

The buy-ins were also adjusted and the lowest available stake was increased to $0.05 with a guarantee of $50. Players can now take a shot at their own leisure three times per week and enter this lowest tier with five stacks thanks to the Daily Freebie.

Upon launch, the Flip & Go featured a maximum of 10 entries for each of the four stakes. However, that number has been adjusted recently and the stacks for purchase are now capped at a maximum of eight. This makes the bonus stacks based on the holdings during the Flipout stage more valuable in comparison.

The overall feedback for the new tournament format has been very positive, as outlined by Burke.

“Players love it! We have been very pleasantly surprised by the positivity seen across almost all feedback, of course not all players are interested in a new game type but those who have tried it have mostly good things to say about Flip & Go. We’ve also received some constructive criticism, which is also valuable.”

Further tweaks to the Flip & Go format may very well possible, as GGPoker is constantly reviewing and optimizing its schedule. One such adjustment was made with the expansion of the popular Daily GGMasters earlier in February.

The changes to the Daily Freebie promotion went live on February 10. All verified GGPoker players in eligible countries can claim their daily gift under the “My Promo” tab after each daily reset.

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WPT GTO Trainer Hands of the Week: Battling the Big Blind

February 16 2021
LearnWPT

With a 100 big blind effective stack, you open-raise to 3bbs in the Cutoff seat and get called by the player in the Big Blind.
This scenario shows a common spot where you are in position against a tough opponent in the Big Blind on the flop after you were the preflop aggressor.
Against a less-skilled opponent automatically c-betting a standard size is often the best play. These types of opponents are less likely to put pressure on your c-bets by making moves on the flop.

Against tougher players you’ll need to focus on board texture to determine the best continuation bet sizing and identify flops where checking behind will be the best play. Generally you can use smaller c-bet sizes on dry, static flops that don’t have many equity changing turn cards. For example, larger c-bet sizing is not required on a flop of rainbow.
On more coordinated boards that still favor you as the raiser, such as with a flush draw, you can use a larger c-bet sizing. Tough opponents will have robust check-raising ranges as part of their overall Big Blind Defense strategy, so be aware of not over folding hands with too much equity when your c-bet gets check-raised.
You will often be put to tough decisions with marginal hands, with the correct decision often coming down to understanding the effects of blockers. If you hold cards that interfere with your opponent’s ability to have strong hands, you should be more likely to call down in the hand. If your cards interfere with their ability to have bluffs, you should be more likely to fold.
For more GTO hand analysis, you can play through five solved random hands from this situation.
To access the free five hands, visit this page.
Regular play on the WPT GTO Trainer will help you adjust your decisions closer and closer to GTO strategy.
You don’t have to be the world’s best player to use GTO Strategy, and thanks to the WPT GTO Trainer, now you don’t have to buy expensive software or have expert level knowledge to study GTO.
Why use the WPT GTO Trainer?
The WPT GTO Trainer lets you play real solved hands against a perfect opponent in a wide variety of postflop scenarios for cash game and tournament play.
If your goal is to be a tough poker player then you should try the WPT GTO Trainer today.
Register a free account here (it only takes your e-mail address to begin) to play hands and see true GTO strategy in real-time.
The WPT GTO Trainer has over 4 billion unique solved flops, turns and rivers that are fully playable.
As you make decisions in a hand, you receive instant feedback on the specific EV loss (if any) and Played Percentage for every action you take as compared to GTO strategy.
The full selection of scenarios for the WPT GTO Trainer are only available to members of LearnWPT, however we’re giving PokerNews Readers free access to the Trainer on a regular basis with the WPT GTO Hands of The Week.
Use this series of articles to practice the strategies you learn on LearnWPT (or at the table) and test your progress by playing a five-hand sample each week.

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Daniil Medvedev Finds Another Way of Playing Professional Tennis


At 23, Rublev is two years younger than Medvedev and grew up playing junior tournaments against him in Russia. For a long time Rublev, seeded No. 8, and Karen Khachanov, 24, the third member of Russia’s latest golden generation, were better than Medvedev. The rise for Medvedev came in 2018 and 2019, when he nearly beat Rafael Nadal in the 2019 United States Open final.“He reads the game really well,” Rublev said of Medvedev. “It’s amazing, the patience he has to stay so long in the rallies, to not rush, to take the time, because in the end these little details, they make him who he is.”Russia is the only country with two players in the top 10. Khachanov gives it three in the top 20. Aslan Karatsev, 27, another Russian ranked No. 114, came out of nowhere to make the quarterfinals here in his first Grand Slam tournament.Medvedev comes into the quarterfinal on perhaps the best roll of his career. He has won 18 consecutive singles matches. He won the ATP Tour finals in London in November, pulling off the nifty trick of beating the world’s top three players — Novak Djokovic, Nadal and Dominic Thiem — in a single tournament. For Russia at the ATP Cup, he beat Alexander Zverev of Germany, a 2020 U.S. Open finalist, in a tight, three-set match in the semifinal round.Medvedev spent his early childhood in Moscow and played few sports other than tennis growing up. He worshiped Russia’s last golden generation, which included Marat Safin and Yevgeny Kafelnikov, who were in their prime when he was a young child. He moved to France to train as a teenager and became fluent in English and French.Medvedev could be heard screaming at his coach, Gilles Cervara of France, in French during his third-round match against Filip Krajinovic of Serbia, as he frittered away a two-set lead before recovering to win the final set, 6-0.

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Did the next Macau bubble just start two weeks ago?


The entire concept of a “bull market in stocks” makes little sense. Sound crazy? These days, certainly, because we’re always hearing about a perpetual bull market in stocks. Valuations increasingly disconnected from economic reality, asset bubbles in one class or another, armies of speculators moving like zombie hoards descending on the next fad and blowing it up to infinity and beyond, Buzz Lightyear-like.Why is the whole concept of a bull market generally, nonsense? Because if the value of everything is going up simultaneously, then nothing is going up. If everyone is a superhero, nobody is. If, in an imaginary economy, absolutely everything costs, say, $5, (labor, land, capital whatever) and then the next day everything costs $10, then what’s changed? The answer is absolutely nothing.The only thing that matters is relative valuations between asset classes. Let’s divide them into three of the most basic ones. Equities (stocks), bonds (debt), and commodities (consumer goods). If all three are going up in tandem, then there is no “bull market” in anything. If commodities are going up faster than stocks and bonds, you have inflation, or even hyperinflation. Ask anyone in Venezuela whether they care that their stock market is doing great, nominally. They don’t. They’re looking for their next glop of gruel or morsel of moldy bread to survive the day.But if stocks and bonds are rising and consumer goods are static to falling, you have a bull market in financial assets. This is where we are now. And boy are we really hard and deep into it now. Below is the ratio of the S&P 500 to the CRB Commodities Index.And I’ve got news for everyone. This bull market in stocks relative to consumer goods in dollar terms is already over. It ended almost a year ago. On April 20, 2020 to be exact. Red circle blowoff top above. That was when oil crashed to negative $35 a barrel and we all lived in an alternative financial freakhouse universe. But I have more news than that. This entire “bull market” in stocks has been one gigantic illusion from the very beginning. Stocks aren’t going up. They haven’t gone up for 21 years. Money is going down. Here is the graph of stocks relative to the prime monetary commodity, gold, over the same timeframe above.We can see here that from 1990 to 2000, we had a real bull market in stocks. Equities rocketed in gold terms and in terms of consumer goods generally. Everyone felt richer. Portfolios up, expenses down. But since that time, money has been dying at an accelerated pace and the standard of living has fallen.The bull market in stocks over the last 21 years has been an illusion, a tiny echo of the bull that ended at the turn of the century. We have spent the last 21 years trying to reinflate it, but gold has exposed the lie. We are now at the point where the illusion is about to collapse completely. In my view, we have only a few months left until it all hits the fan. Until then, the bubbles will keep coming in staccato frenetic fashion, moving from one asset class to another faster and faster, until we all get so dizzy we can’t follow it anymore. Last week I speculated that maybe the next target for the zombie hoard will be in penny gaming stocks. I was close. It’s in Macau stocks. It may already have started two weeks ago. The frenzy has started over news about China opening up again. I mean, just look at this crazy chart of the Macau proxy ETF:That last surge higher is just since February 1. We could be at the beginning of a crazy but brief ride higher in Macau stocks right now. New all time highs again, and Macau isn’t even fully open yet. The latest full month statistics for December show a 78.6% drop in visitors year over year. And yet we’re at new all time highs in these stocks already. It’s just completely crazy. I can understand the Macau opening up again trade, but to argue that this factor is being priced in at these levels, at new all time highs? As if none of this full year shutdown hurt any of the casinos fundamentally at all? That’s just totally bonkers crazy. It’s a reflection of the value of the currency these stocks are priced in, not the stocks themselves.What’s happening is that the zombie hoard of bubble chasers is reading the headlines regarding China starting to open up again, and they’re slamming buy orders and call options like they’ve been doing with tech stocks and Gamestop and BTC and all the other fads. We just got news out of Bloomberg that China’s Imax had a face-ripping rally due to exploding ticket sales. China is, indeed opening up, and the zombie hoard of speculators is now going to spray their money hoses at anything Chinese. Macau might be at the center of it.How high can this Macau bubble go, if that’s what we just saw start two weeks ago? The truth is, it doesn’t matter. If you get into it, you’ll get hooked and keep levering yourself up, counting your paper gains, unable to separate from them until you get caught in a vortex. At some point, my view this year, it’s all going to come crashing down when all the damage from 2020 is finally revealed all over the world. You can’t paper it over forever. The damage to Macau casinos doesn’t just go away. It festers in the form of more and more debt, and a damaged consumer base that can no longer patronize casinos in the way it once could. Festering wounds need the paper bandage removed and they need to be operated on. That is painful. And it’s coming.When we think of the word “bubble”, what are we really talking about? A bubble is something that looks, from the outside, to be really big and stable. The shape of it, a sphere, is the most stable shape in the universe. It’s why planets, stars, moons, and possibly even the spacetime continuum itself, spontaneously shape themselves into spheres. The force of gravity equalizes at every point on the sphere, forming equilibrium. Nature always seeks equilibrium. And so bubbles take on the illusion of stability, but unlike a real sphere, there’s nothing inside them. When they pop, they are gone almost instantly. This one is about to pop. Macau appears to be the next victim sucked up by the bubble. Macau will survive and rebuild. The question is, in what form? I wouldn’t take a bet the depended on me getting the answer to that question right.

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Root: Pitch not to blame for England defeat


England captain Joe Root says team “outplayed” by India on tough surface as they lose second Test by 317 runs; skipper feels his men can learn from the way the hosts found control with the ball and batted calmly; third Test in Ahmedabad from February 24

Last Updated: 16/02/21 10:01am

0:56

England captain Joe Root says his squad must not get too down about their heavy defeat in the second Test against India.

England captain Joe Root says his squad must not get too down about their heavy defeat in the second Test against India.

Joe Root refused to blame the spin-friendly Chennai pitch for England’s thumping defeat to India in the second Test – and has urged his side to learn from the difficult conditions they faced.
England were spun out for 134 and 164 at MA Chidambaram Stadium on a dusty surface as India wrapped up a 317-run victory on day four to level the four-match series at 1-1.Rohit Sharma and Ravichandran Ashwin completed hundreds for India and Root says the hosts showed England a template for scoring runs on unhelpful tracks for batsmen. Root says his side must learn from the challenging conditions they faced in Chennai (Pic credit – BCCI) “I wouldn’t say it was a good pitch but it made for very exciting cricket and it was not the reason we lost the game. We were outplayed in all three departments,” said the England skipper.”For us, it’s a bit of an education. It was a surface that spun a huge amount and bounced more than we anticipated but we should take that as a learning and be better for it the next time we experience conditions that are similar.”The toss was an important one to win – but it wouldn’t have guaranteed us a win either. India showed you can score runs and found a way of managing a very tricky surface.”Our batters need to learn from how India rotated strike, while what I took from how they played was how calm and unflustered they were. When a delivery really misbehaved, they didn’t waver from their game-plan.” Ravichandran Ashwin (pictured) and Rohit Sharma scored centuries for India in the second Test (Pic credit – BCCI) Root – whose side will be looking to bounce back in the day-night third Test in Ahmedabad from February 24 with their six-match winning streak in overseas Tests having been snapped – also felt his bowlers could have been more frugal on day one when India reached 300-6 after electing to bat.”We have to find ways of building pressure for long periods of time with the ball, bowling six balls at one batter, which India made very difficult for us.”Can we string maidens together and force wickets through very disciplined passages of play? I think India did that better than us.”On day one we could probably have been a bit tighter and squeezed the game, making it hard for them to score freely. The four-match Test series is tied at 1-1 heading into the third Test, a day-night fixture in Ahmedabad from February 24 “We have to learn from the opposition, who played very well, but we are 1-1 in the series and there are two very important games to come.”We are very excited about that because of how well we played in the first game. We are very much in this series. It’s set up very nicely.”We have to stay level. We don’t get above our station when we win and it’s not all doom and gloom when we have tough weeks.”It is very important we stay level as a team. We have to learn but that is one thing we have done well in recent times so hopefully we can take that into the rest of the series.” 0:52 Root says he understands Moeen Ali’s decision to leave England’s bio-secure bubble and return home to his family Root says he understands Moeen Ali’s decision to leave England’s bio-secure bubble and return home to his family Root – who also confirmed that all-rounder Moeen Ali will miss the rest of the series having opted to fly home – said Ben Stokes only bowled two overs in the game for tactical reasons, not due to injury.”Ben is fit and able to bowl but, on that surface, you look at the overs of seam bowled and it was minimal,” said Root.”I’m sure Ben will have an impact on this series with the ball as he did in the first game. He can grab big moments and turn them on their head.”Pressed on whether he wanted to include the rested James Anderson, who had starred with a scintillating spell of reverse-swing bowling on day five of the first Test, Root added: “It was discussed. “But we need to look at the series as a whole. The pink-ball game looks an exciting opportunity for someone like him to have a real impact.”Follow text commentary of the day-night third Test between India and England in Ahmedabad on skysports.com and the Sky Sports app from 8.30am on Wednesday, February 24.

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McGeechan’s Lions XV: Russell, Farrell the 10-12 axis


Sir Ian McGeechan has selected his British and Irish Lions team to face world champions South Africa this summer.
The legendary Lions coach highlights who made the biggest impressions during the first two rounds of the Six Nations as competition for places in Warren Gatland’s squad intensifies…Back three: ‘You need gamebreakers in South Africa’It’s only been two weekends of the Six Nations, but in the back three there are some significant names and there have already been some very good performances in that area. Stuart Hogg scored twice against Wales on Saturday It has to be Stuart Hogg at full-back, he’s in outstanding form and he’s confident. He’s making fewer errors, he’s good under the high ball and I think against South Africa you need players who can break the game up.We know how good a player Elliot Daly is, he’s just not where he was a couple of years ago.I want to mention Liam Williams as well, because I think when he went to full-back at the weekend, it changed the Welsh attack. It helped Louis Rees-Zammit in what he did as we all. I like Williams in the backfield, I think he’s a genuine game-changer. 0:18 Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones says this is just the ‘tip of the iceberg’ for Louis Rees-Zammit after his match-winning try against Scotland Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones says this is just the ‘tip of the iceberg’ for Louis Rees-Zammit after his match-winning try against Scotland At the moment, I’d have Rees-Zammit on the right wing on form, and the other wing I’d have is Duhan van der Merwe.Then you’ve got the back-up of Anthony Watson who can be a winger or full-back, Williams, and James Lowe who comes into the equation.Warren Gatland’s going to be spoiled for choice in the back three. Duhan van der Merwe evades the tackle of Wales’ Leigh Halfpenny Midfield: ’12 is a position that’s open’Good team performances often highlight good players, but England aren’t firing on all cylinders so some of the players are not showing genuinely how good they are and can be.Henry Slade is a player who I really like watching, I think he’s got a lot of talent, but some of the England players at the moment have struggled a little bit because tactically they haven’t honed everything collectively.So I think Slade is there or thereabouts, but I think Chris Harris on form over the two games should be there at outside centre. Chris Harris hands off Wales’ Owen Watkin in Edinburgh The issue we’ve got is that 12 is a very open position in all the teams. Robbie Henshaw and Garry Ringrose are a settled combination in Ireland, whereas Wales have had disruption through injuries.Nick Tompkins I like, so there are players there who I think can make a statement in the remaining games of the championship, but I would put Owen Farrell at inside centre because I think you also need a goal kicker in a Test team.You’ve got to be prepared to win it by penalties as well as tries, if you need to. Farrell, with his experience, played very well in New Zealand for the Lions at 12 with Johnny Sexton at 10. Owen Farrell switched to inside centre for England’s win over Italy Half-backs: ‘Boks would be scared of a Lions team with Russell’Finn Russell at fly-half, you’ve got to go for him. I think South Africa would be worried if they saw a Lions team with Finn Russell in it.Yes, they may feel they could challenge him and cause issues with his decision-making, but I think he’s matured tremendously since he’s played with Racing 92, and all the messages coming out of the Scotland camp are about how good he’s been in training; talking to other players, getting ideas across and decision-making, which is so important for a 10. Finn Russell is playing his way into Lions contention Go back a few years and there was one Gregor Townsend who did the same.He’s a tremendous passer of the ball and is very good at running support lines and can take the first player on, but it’s the variety of his kicking game that could be so important on the highveld as well as at sea level.Gatland’s got some challenges at scrum-half. Dan Robson coming on actually showed a little bit of buzz and speed for England, and Ireland I think will go back to Conor Murray when he’s fit. Wales are still working out their scrum-half – there was a change almost at half-time which was interesting. Ali Price’s smart kick over the top created Scotland’s first try against Wales Over the last two weeks, I would go with Ali Price. He’s a natural link with Russell and he’s got a good kicking game, but he’s also quick and will have a go at forwards on the front foot. He’s not afraid of attacking the spaces either side of the breakdown.Front row: ‘You can’t be pushed all over the place in South Africa’In South Africa you have to have a good set-piece. Not necessarily dominant, but you can’t afford to be pushed back and be all over the place. You have to have parity at least. Kyle Sinckler has won 44 caps for England since making his debut in 2016 Tadhg Furlong is a player I really like, similarly Andrew Porter, but Kyle Sinckler gets in at tighthead prop for his impact.Sinckler is good with ball in hand, so you’ve got all the bonus of a very good footballer in open play, but technically you’ve got a good tighthead as well.I’ve gone with Wyn Jones at loosehead. I think technically, scrummaging wise, he can be challenged a bit, but given the form of the current props, it was between him and Rory Sutherland. Mako Vunipola needs to be playing games, he’s off the pace at the moment. George Turner outplayed Jamie George at Twickenham, says Sir Ian McGeechan George Turner carried well at the weekend. he tackles well and his game involvement is very high. I’ve been very impressed with him.He was good against England, if not better than Jamie George, and was again very positive against Wales at the weekend so he’s my choice at hooker.Second row: ‘Beirne benefitting from O’Connell’s influence’Alun Wyn Jones is an amazing player. I don’t think he’s the best second row, but for influence alone he’s so important to the Welsh team. Tadhg Beirne celebrates after scoring Ireland’s first try against Wales Along with Jones, you’ve got Jonny Gray, who’s going well with Scotland, and I’ve been impressed with Scott Cummings as well.Obviously James Ryan has been brilliant since breaking onto the scene, and Iain Henderson has been playing well.It’s an area where I think Gatland is going to be spoiled for choice, but for my second row I’ve gone with Tadhg Beirne and Maro Itoje.Itoje gave a lot of penalties away against Scotland which is back to what he was doing a couple of years back, but he was much better against Italy on Saturday. Maro Itoje wears the No 4 jersey in Sir Ian McGeechan’s Lions XV There is a slight question mark over Itoje on form, but I think Beirne has had two good games for Ireland and I think he’s benefitted greatly from having Paul O’Connell on the coaching staff.Back row: ‘You want someone scrambling for the ball’I thought Rhys Ruddock almost put himself in the picture at blindside flanker with the way he performed against France. You need an aggressive one in the back row – CJ Stander, who can play there, has also been playing well. Will Jamie Ritchie be in the Lions’ Test XV against the Springboks? Jamie Ritchie didn’t play at the weekend, but he would be my frontline player. I think Ritchie as a young back rower has a very good presence; he’s physical, he’s big and he’s quick. I’d have Stander on stand-by, he’s been leading the way for Ireland with carries.Hamish Watson is my openside, without a doubt. Over two games he’s been outstanding, and the sort of player you want scrambling around the ball and on the floor against South Africa.I think Tom Curry will be there, I do like him as a seven, and the other one I like is Justin Tipuric, who I think is underestimated in the impact he has. In the last 20 minutes at Murrayfield, he was outstanding. Scotland openside Hamish Watson is McGeechan’s pick in the No 7 jersey Taulupe Faletau is my No 8. I thought he played well at the weekend, and the longer the game went on the better he got.At times he’s been a bit peripheral and not involved, but I thought he was dominant. He had double-figure carries and double-figure tackles against Scotland. That’s what you want from your No 8. Billy Vunipola won’t be far away when it comes to the final measure, but over those two games I think Faletau has been one of the influential players in Wales’ two wins.Sir Ian McGeechan’s Lions XV: 15 Stuart Hogg (Scotland), 14 Louis Rees-Zammit (Wales), 13 Chris Harris (Scotland), 12 Owen Farrell (England), 11 Duhan van der Merwe (Scotland), 10 Finn Russell (Scotland), 9 Ali Price (Scotland), 1 Wyn Jones (Wales), 2 George Turner (Scotland), 3 Kyle Sinckler (England), 4 Maro Itoje (England), 5 Tadhg Beirne (Ireland), 6 Jamie Ritchie (Scotland), 7 Hamish Watson (Scotland), 8 Taulupe Faletau (Wales).

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Reid and Hewett defend men’s wheelchair title


British duo Gordon Reid and Alfie Hewett equal the domestic record set by brothers Laurence and Reginald Doherty, who won 10 Grand Slam doubles titles, all at Wimbledon, between 1897 and 1906 with Australian Open glory in the men’s wheelchair event

By PA Media
Last Updated: 16/02/21 6:15am

Gordon Reid and Alfie Hewett claimed more Grand Slam glory at the Australian Open

Gordon Reid and Alfie Hewett claimed a British record-equalling 10th Grand Slam doubles title as a team when they successfully defended their men’s wheelchair title in Melbourne.
The top seeds beat French pair Stephane Houdet and Nicolas Peifer 7-5 7-6 (7-3) to also extend to five their winning streak of victories in available Grand Slams.Hewett said: “To win back to back is an awesome feeling, especially with the situation at the moment, not knowing how many opportunities we’re going to have to compete this year.” Reid and Hewett equalled the domestic record set by brothers Laurence and Reginald Doherty, who won 10 Grand Slam doubles titles, all at Wimbledon, between 1897 and 1906. Reid added: “Obviously it’s been an amazing ride – when we started playing with each other Alfie was just a young kid coming up, finishing school, and I was number one in world doubles at the time.”It was a bit of a gamble to be honest, at that stage, obviously one I’m happy that I took, and it’s paying off nicely for us now.”Andy Lapthorne and American partner Dylan Wagner lost their quad wheelchair doubles final to top-seeded Australians Dylan Alcott and Heath Davidson 6-2 3-6 10-7. Reid and Hewett pose with the championship trophy after winning the men’s wheelchair doubles title Lapthorne returned last month after announcing, having lost two French Open finals in October, that he was taking time away from the game in order to focus on his mental health.He said: “It was difficult, I’m not going to lie, especially in that 10-point tie-breaker when all of a sudden the pressure comes and the anxiety and all those feelings I had back at Roland Garros.”But I’m battling away, and I’m trying my best each day to work on myself and work on my mind and it’s small steps, and it was nice just to be back out there.” Lucy Shuker and South African partner Kgothatso Montjane lost their women’s wheelchair doubles final to Dutch top seeds Diede de Groot and Aniek van Koot 6-4 6-1.Don’t forget to follow us on skysports.com/tennis, our Twitter account @skysportstennis & Sky Sports – on the go! Available to download now on – iPhone & iPad and Android

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