Tag Archives: japan

Australian Open 2013: Janko Tipsarevic retired from match with Nicolas Almagro

Agony for Tipsarevic as he is forced to retire as Almagro goes on to face Ferrer

By
Steven Donaldson

PUBLISHED:

07:24 GMT, 20 January 2013

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UPDATED:

07:24 GMT, 20 January 2013

Eighth-seeded Janko Tipsarevic retired from his fourth-round match at the Australian Open with an injured left foot while trailing Nicolas Almagro 6-2, 5-1.

The 10th-seeded Almagro advanced to a quarter-final against fellow Spaniard David Ferrer, who beat Japan's Kei Nishikori in straight sets.

Tipsarevic said he injured the foot while changing directions during a rally late in the seventh game of the first set, and could barely walk on it afterward.

In a bad way: Janko Tipsarevic receives treatment

In a bad way: Janko Tipsarevic receives treatment

Into the next round: Spain's Nicolas Almagro is into the quaqrter finals after Tipsarevic retired

Into the next round: Spain's Nicolas Almagro is into the quaqrter finals after Tipsarevic retired

Almagro said: 'That's not the way you want to win. But that's sport.

'Sometimes you can't do your best and you need to stop. I think he made the best decision.'

Almagro, seeded No 10, has lost all 12 of his previous matches with Ferrer but is hoping to buck that trend and reach his first grand slam semi-final.

Going forward: Almagro will meet David Ferrer

Going forward: Almagro will meet David Ferrer

In control: Almagro was ahead in the match when it was stopped

In control: Almagro was ahead in the match when it was stopped

'It will be a good fight. I know him and he knows me,' he said.

'It is a big opportunity for me to be in a semi-final. I'm ready to fight. I'm healthy and happy with my tennis.

'I think I'm playing really well and we'll see what will happen on Tuesday.'

Royal Trophy 2012: Ryo Ishikawa could make the difference in Brunei

Japan's superstar Ishikawa could be the difference in Asia's bid to topple Europe in Royal Trophy

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UPDATED:

15:48 GMT, 15 December 2012

The first thing that set Ryo Ishikawa apart from the other golfers at the Royal Trophy, Ryder Cup stars and all, came during the tournament’s opening ceremony.

Each player was introduced to polite and respectful applause. Then came Ryo, and suddenly the room was not filled with dignitaries and journalists but squealing teenagers.

Ishikawa attracts a fanatical following from his homeland of Japan wherever he plays across the globe. Whenever he takes to the course there are as many photographers as paying spectators following his every move.

Eyes on the prize: Ishikawa struck two outstanding shots in the fourballs

Eyes on the prize: Ishikawa struck two outstanding shots in the fourballs

Young, squeaky clean, good looking but entirely unthreatening… as a colleague here in Brunei put it, Ishikawa could well be described as the Justin Bieber of golf.

But, like when asking anyone over the age of 16 what their favourite Bieber song is, mention Ishikawa and most golf fans’ faces will turn blank.

To be fair to Ryo, his music does not make a proportion of the public want to pull their own fingernails out. Although it must be said we’ve never heard him sing. Let’s keep it that way.

So what’s all the fuss about Well, apart from the boyband looks, he donated his earnings on tour in 2011 to the Japanese earthquake and tsunami relief fund, plus an additional 750 for every birdie he made during the year. So he’s a nice boy – but is he a top-class golfer

The Ishikawa frenzy erupted when he became the youngest ever winner on the Japan Golf Tour aged just 15. Now 21, Ryo has won another 10 titles but only last month ended a barren run of two years without a victory. He has also never made his presence felt at any of the major championships, beyond the sizable boost to the local economies provided by the ever-present, and ultimately disappointed, throng of Japanese tourists.

Joining the scrum following Ishikawa during his fourball match at the Royal Trophy on Saturday, there were encouraging signs early on.

Up for grabs: The Royal Trophy was on display as Ye Yang tees off

Up for grabs: The Royal Trophy was on display as Ye Yang tees off

A wedge approach into the par-four first was accompanied by a long, posed follow-through – the equivalent of the ‘save for the cameras’ in football – as the ball flew straight at the flag and stopped four feet from the pin.

Ishikawa is known as ‘the Bashful Prince’ back home, but this was a showman working the crowd in a way the rather arrogant Prince, of musical fame, would approve.

But it was not to last. The putt shaved the hole leaving Ishikawa flabbergasted. A stunning approach to the fifth was a rare highlight in a round consisting mainly of piercing drives but sloppy iron play.

Despite being 50 yards longer off the tee than one of his opponents, Francesco Molinari, he was unable to match the two-time Ryder Cup veteran’s precision into the greens.

Then he started to falter off the tee too, splashing down in the lake with an ugly slice on the eighth, and began to find fairway bunkers with ease.

As Duran Duran might have sung, his name is Ryo and he likes playing from the sand. Ishikawa and fellow Japenese Yoshinori Fujimoto found themselves two holes down to the Molinari brothers at the turn and wilting in the stifling tropical heat.

All looked lost, but Fujimoto had other ideas. Sleeves pulled up, in the manner of Andy Roddick, over his impossibly square shoulders, he started firing at pins and sparked life back into the contest. And then, the moment we’d all been waiting for.

Raptures: Ishikawa received a warm reception in the opening ceremony, a much louder applause than Ryder Cup stars such as Miguel Angel Jimenez

Raptures: Ishikawa received a warm reception in the opening ceremony, a much louder applause than Ryder Cup stars such as Miguel Angel Jimenez

With his playing partner in trouble after driving towards the beach on the 549-yard long 15th, an under-pressure Ishikawa launched a lusty blow off the tee before firing a laser-guided missile into the green. His ball finished nine feet from the pin and the putt was sunk for an eagle three, the first of the week on any par-five here.

The fire was lit in Ishikawa’s belly and he followed that with another belter into the green at the short 16th.

Fujimoto’s birdie meant he did not need to complete his own near-certain two. After finding sand off the tee on the 17th, he blasted his approach out of the bunker to 10 feet. The Molinaris missed longer birdie putts and the match was over, the Japanese winning three up.

It wasn’t the most polished performance and it remains to be seen whether he can succeed under such an intense media glare. Helping Asia to come from a point behind and beat Europe in Sunday’s singles here may also be beyond his powers.

He takes on Henrik Stenson tomorrow.

But with two of the most fabulous blows you will ever see in any golf tournament across the globe, this young superstar won a new admirer.

If Ishikawa really is the Justin Bieber of golf… then I’m a Belieber.

Rendall Munroe retires from boxing

End of the road for Munroe as English fighter hangs up his gloves after Quigg defeat

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UPDATED:

12:30 GMT, 13 December 2012

Rendall Munroe has retired from boxing following defeat to Scott Quigg last month.

The 32-year-old, who won 24 of his 28 contests, challenged for the super-bantamweight world title against Japan's Toshiaki Nishioka in 2010.

But he suffered his first stoppage loss to Quigg on the undercard of Ricky Hatton's unsuccessful comeback in Manchester and has decided to hang up his gloves.

Last bell: Munroe (right) has called time on his boxing career

Last bell: Munroe (right) has called time on his boxing career

'I'm always positive and forward thinking and I've had a great career. I am 100 per cent proud of what I have done,' Munroe said.

'I was English, Commonwealth, European and WBA international champion and a world title contender.'

Munroe was stopped in the sixth round by Quigg who displayed an impressive array of devastating body shots.

The pair originally met in June but a nasty cut above Munroe's right eye, which required nine stitches, stopped the contest in the third round, resulting in a technical draw.

Fernando Torres the star attraction as Japan welcomes Chelsea

Big in Japan Torres the main man as Chelsea battle for spotlight in the land that loves the Premier League

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UPDATED:

12:50 GMT, 10 December 2012

It could hardly be described as Chelsea-mania when the European champions touched down in Japan but there was a warm and polite welcome for Rafa Benitez and his weary team.

A dozen or so curious fans milled around outside the team hotel in Yokohama harbour, in the shadow of a big wheel and a rollercoaster, one clutching a red Spain shirt with 'Torres' printed on the back.

Playing it cool: Fernando Torres and his Chelsea team-mates were greeted by fans in Japan

Playing it cool: Fernando Torres and his Chelsea team-mates were greeted by fans in Japan

Star attraction: Chelsea defender David Luiz was a big hit when he stopped to sign autographs

Star attraction: Chelsea defender David Luiz was a big hit when he stopped to sign autographs

Fan-tastic: These Japanese supporters were delighted to see the Blues squad in Yokohama

Fan-tastic: These Japanese supporters were delighted to see the Blues squad in Yokohama

Fernando Torres, back in the goals with four in two games, is clearly the biggest draw despite his problems since moving to Stamford Bridge.

He skipped off the bus at the training base and was met by a flurry of flashbulbs and he has been in demand from Japanese TV.

It had been a long wait for some as Richard Conway of the BBC tweeted: 'Scores of Chelsea fans camped outside team hotel in Yokohama. Many there for up to 6 hours, hoping to see players.'

The local press assembled at the Yokohama F Marinos training base said there was nothing like the clamour for Chelsea that there had been for Barcelona's participation in the FIFA Club World Cup last year but the Barclays Premier League remains a bigger attraction than La Liga in terms of entertainment.

Pay TV channel Nippon have the rights to show every game live.

Manchester United are the most popular team, especially since the signing of Shinji Kagawa.

Unbiased reporter: A journalist shows his true colours as he tries to get a word with Torres

Unbiased reporter: A journalist shows his true colours as he tries to get a word with Torres

Get shirty: The Blues were expecting to sell plenty of tops, scraves and other merchandise in the Far East

Get shirty: The Blues were expecting to sell plenty of tops, scraves and other merchandise in the Far East

Pop-up store: The Blues were expecting to sell plenty of tops, scraves and other merchandise in the Far East

Many fans go to bars to watch the games. Sunday's Manchester derby kicked off at 10.30pm in Japan.

Benitez's training session was open to the media but not to fans. A few waited at the gates for a glimpse of the stars they see on TV and a couple of dozen found themselves elevated vantage points nearby to view proceedings as the sun dropped.

John Terry and Oriol Romeu have stayed behind in London to work on their fitness and there was the unfamiliar slender figure of teenage midfielder George Saville among the squad, who were all wearing a brand new training kit, minus the usual Samsung slogan, due to FIFA sponsorship rules.

The Marinos are Yokohama's J-League team and finished fourth in the season which has just ended.

They play at the Nissan Stadium, where the 2002 World Cup final was held and train at the small and neat stadium a few streets back from the harbour.

Long way away: The Chelsea players train in Yokahama after touching down in Japan

Long way away: The Chelsea players train in Yokahama after touching down in Japan

Back among the goals: Fernando Torres (centre) has four in his last two games

Back among the goals: Fernando Torres (centre) has four in his last two games

Chelsea may not want local fans to watch them train but they don't mind if they hand over some money, setting up a sort of mini megastore on site selling official merchandise. There was a healthy trickle of custom.

FIFA expect a crowd of 50,000 to attend Chelsea's first game of the Club World Cup against Monterrey of Mexico, on Thursday, with more at Sunday's final but the biggest following in Japan is reserved for Corinthians, the champions of South America.

Almost 20,000 fans are estimated to have travelled from Brazil. When Corinthians won the Copa Libertadores, to clinch a place in this tournament, the flights from Sao Paulo to Tokyo were full within days.

Time to think: Rafa Benitez has a moment to himself ahead of speaking to reporters in Yokahama

Time to think: Rafa Benitez has a moment to himself ahead of speaking to reporters in Yokahama

Many travelled instead via London, avoiding the visa complications of a route through the United States.

Corinthians are based in Nagoya for the first few days because their opening games against Al Ahly of Egypt is played in the city of Toyota.

FIFA insist the popularity of this tournament is steadily growing as is the importance afforded it by the European champions, who have won the last five titles.

'We believe it is a good competition and well supported in Japan,' said Wolfgang Resch of FIFA.

'It's the only trans-Atlantic competition and it was interesting to see the different styles in the opening games, how the Mexican team played against the Korean team and how the Egyptian team played against the Japanese team. It is a fascinating way of watching football.'

MANCHESTER DERBY PICTURE SPECIAL: The goals, the rows and the rivalry… and Ryan Giggs" embarrassing tights

MANCHESTER DERBY PICTURE SPECIAL: The goals, the rows and the rivalry… plus Ryan Giggs' embarrassing tights

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UPDATED:

18:23 GMT, 7 December 2012

Move over the Merseyside derby. North London has nothing on this. The big one is back – the Manchester derby. Sunday. 1.30pm. Buckle up and enjoy.

Millions will be watching this Sunday's events at the Etihad. The match will be broadcast live in 212 territories across the globe, reaching an astonishing 720 million homes worldwide.

There will also be 12 international broadcasters present at the Etihad Stadium, including ESPN Brasil and NHK Japan, the highest number of broadcasters at any Barclays Premier League game this season.

It has become the stand-out fixture of
the Premier League season and here's the photographic
evidence… We love the goals, the rows, the celebrations, the banter
and, above all else, the rivalry…

THE GOALS…

The most famous derby goal: Denis Law (No 10), then of City in 1974, scores with a back-heel past United goalkeeper Alec Stepney. It was a strike which still haunts Law because it effectively confirmed United's relegation

The most famous derby goal: Denis Law (No 10), then of City in 1974, scores with a back-heel past United goalkeeper Alec Stepney. It was a strike which still haunts Law because it effectively confirmed United's relegation

Law mobbed by spectators

Manchester United fans invade the pitch and mob Manchester City's Denis Law at the final whistle of the Manchester derby

Life's a pitch: Supporters mob Law after his back-heeled goal on April 27, 1974 for City against United at Old Trafford. Other results would have sent United down anyway and the game had to be abandoned after a pitch invasion (right) with five minutes left.

DENIS LAW ON THAT GOAL… IN HIS OWN WORDS

'I was inconsolable. I didn’t want it to happen. How long did the feeling last How long ago was the game Thirty-odd years. There is your answer. The subject always crops up. It’s one of those things. It’s always there and I am always remembered for it. That’s a shame.

I played with all those guys. They were pals. I didn’t want them down. It was the last thing in the world that I wanted. It didn’t feel good, no. We weren’t friends on the field. We would kick each other. But once the whistle went and it was over, things changed.

There was a bar in those days so we would have a cup of tea or coffee or a beer and then we might meet up later. It was just normal in those days. I was a bit different as I had been at both clubs and I knew guys who were still playing.

I knew the trainers and the guys behind the scenes. As the years have gone on it has changed, I guess.'

Taken from a 2010 interview by Ian Ladyman

Second most famous derby goal: Wayne Rooney's majestic overhead kick against City in February last year

Second most famous derby goal: Wayne Rooney's majestic overhead kick against City in February last year

Close one: United legend Charlton narrowly misses against City as the Blue side of Manchester prevailed with a 4-0 win in 1969

Close one: United legend Charlton narrowly misses against City as the Blue side of Manchester prevailed with a 4-0 win in 1969

Trevor Morley (front right) scores the second City goal. Mal Donaghy (R). Football: Division 1: Manchester City v Manchester United (5-1)

Manchester City's Vincent Kompany (3-L) rises above Manchester United's Chris Smalling (2-R)

Blue moon rising: Trevor Morley (above, far right) scores City's second in their 1989 5-1 thumping of United and captain Vincent Kompany (right) rises highest to score City's opener against United at the Etihad last April

Rarity: Paul Scholes scores the first goal - with his head! - during the 2003 derby, which United won 3-1

Rarity: Paul Scholes scores the first goal – with his head! – during the 2003 derby, which United won 3-1

The near miss: Manchester City's Don Revie (centre) wheels away thinking he has headed home, but the ball strikes the post and United's Bill Foulkes is on hand to clear

The near miss: Manchester City's Don Revie (centre) wheels away thinking he has headed home, but the ball strikes the post and United's Bill Foulkes is on hand to clear

THE ROWS…

Red Devil: Allenby Chilton, the Manchester United captain, heads for the dressing room after being sent of against City in a 1955 FA Cup tie

Red Devil: Allenby Chilton, the Manchester United captain, heads for the dressing room after being sent of against City in a 1955 FA Cup tie

Temper, temper: Bryan Robson (No 7) and Dennis Irwin (centre) wade in as Niall Quinn (No 9) and Steve McMahon (hidden) attempt to keep the peace at Old Trafford in 1992

Temper, temper: Bryan Robson (No 7) and Dennis Irwin (centre) wade in as Niall Quinn (No 9) and Steve McMahon (hidden) attempt to keep the peace at Old Trafford in 1992

In the red corner: Denis Law takes a swipe at Tommy Booth in 1969 as Joe Corrigan lies on the floor during the 2-2 derby draw at Old Trafford

In the red corner: Denis Law takes a swipe at Tommy Booth in 1969 as Joe Corrigan lies on the floor during the 2-2 derby draw at Old Trafford

Roy Keane sent off by referee David Elleray after tackle on Haaland has the last word as he walks off

Roy Keane sent off by referee David Elleray after this tackle on Ale Haaland

Vile: Roy Keane abuses Alf-Inge Haaland (left) after seriously injuring the City midfielder in 2001 (right). Keane was rightly sent off. It was the culmination of a feud which had lasted four years and Keane admitted his violent intent in his subsequent autobiography in 2002

Recent rumpus: Rio fumes at Mancini and Platt in April last year

Recent rumpus: Rio fumes at Mancini and Platt in April last year

Boss bother: Mancini (left) and Fergie clash in April this year

Boss bother: Mancini (left) and Fergie clash in April this year

Cup fuss: Anderson (right) takes issue with Balotelli's FA Cup semi-final victory celebration

Cup fuss: Anderson (right) takes issue with Balotelli's FA Cup semi-final victory celebration

City's Craig Bellamy hit by coin and a plastic cider bottle

Cristiano Ronaldo shows his temper as he throws track suit to the ground after being taken off... Premier League: Manchester United v Manchester City (2-0)

Bottling it: Craig Bellamy, then of City, is hit by a coin while a bottle of cider narrowly misses during the January 2010 derby (left) while Cristiano Ronaldo (right) reacts to being substituted the season before by throwing his tracksuit top to the ground and sulking as United run out 2-0 winners

THE CELEBRATIONS…

Kiss catch: Gary Neville plants a smacker on 2010 goalscorer Paul Scholes

Kiss catch: Gary Neville plants a smacker on 2010 goalscorer Paul Scholes

Late drama: Michael Owen celebrates after scoring United's winning goal in the 2009 derby

Late drama: Michael Owen celebrates after scoring United's winning goal in the 2009 derby

Side stepper: Carlos Tevez, now at City, celebrates his 2009 derby goal for United

Side stepper: Carlos Tevez, now at City, celebrates his 2009 derby goal for United

Malcolm Allison, assistant manager at Manchester City FC reacts to the news that City have been drawn to play Manchester United in the FA Cup 4th round in 1970

Michael Carrick second goal celebration with Wayne Rooney

Game on: Malcolm Allison, assistant manager at City (left), reacts to the news that the 1970 FA Cup fourth round draw had pitted the two great rivals against each other as Wayne Rooney celebrates United second goal in January 2010 on team-mate Michael Carrick's shoulders (right)

Football League match 1990 Manchester City v Manchester United (3-3) David White (Left) and Peter Reid (Right) with Colin Hendry after he scored citys third goal

Manchester City's Vincent Kompany (C) celebrates scoring the opening goal against Manchester United

City slickers: David White (Left) and Peter Reid (Right) with Colin Hendry (left) after the defender scored City's third goal in a dramatic 3-3 derby draw in 1990, while Vincent Kompany (right) wheels away after putting City 1-0 up back in April this year at the Eithad Stadium

Just for kicks: Rooney's celebration is befitting of his wonder goal against City last year

Just for kicks: Rooney's celebration is befitting of his wonder goal against City last year

THE BANTER…

Redundant: Manchester United fans display a banner depicting the last time City won a trophy during the derby in February 2011. City have subsequently won the title and the FA Cup

Redundant: Manchester United fans display a banner depicting the last time City won a trophy during the derby in February 2011. City have subsequently won the title and the FA Cup

Mario Balotelli of Manchester City reveals a message on his T-shirt as he celebrates scoring the first goal

Manchester City FC poster bearing the face of new signing and former Manchester United striker Carlos Tevez, in the city centre

Text messages: Maro Balotelli reveals his infamous T-shirt message after scoring City's first in last season's 6-1 rout at Old Trafford and Carlos Tevez beams down on the centre of Manchester from the inflammatory billboard erected after he signed foe the Blue side of the city in July 2009

Extraordinary sight: The scoreboard shows the final score of the derby match at Old Trafford on October 23, 2011

Extraordinary sight: The scoreboard shows the final score of the derby match at Old Trafford on October 23, 2011

THE (FRIENDLY) RIVALRY…

The bosses: Captured here by artist Paul Trevillion in a special commission for Sportsmail, United manager Sir Alex Ferguson (left) could be looking for a spot of 'Fergie time' on Sunday against Roberto Mancini's City

The bosses: Captured here by artist Paul Trevillion in a special commission for Sportsmail, United manager Sir Alex Ferguson (left) could be looking for a spot of 'Fergie time' on Sunday against Roberto Mancini's City

John Bond, manager of Manchester City FC drinks champagne with Ron Atkinson, manger of Manchester United, 1981

Margaret Atkinson wife of Manchester United Manager Ron Atkinson pictured with Jan Bond the wife of Manchester City boss Jon Bond

Mr and Mrs: City manager John Bond and United boss Ron Atkinson share a bottle of champagne on derby day in 1981, while their wives Jan (bond, right) and Margaret (Atkinson) enjoy a cup of tea ahead of the big match

Friendly rivalry: Mike Doyle of Man City (left) and Man Utd goalkeeper Alex Stepney stroll down the 18th together in 1975

Friendly rivalry: Mike Doyle of Man City (left) and Man Utd goalkeeper Alex Stepney stroll down the 18th together in 1975

Manchester United Manager Sir Alex Ferguson (right) with Manchester City manager Mel Machin (left)

Rival managers Joe Mercer (Manchester City) and Frank O'Farrell (Manchester United)

Breakfast club: City manager Mel Machin (left) and Fergie (right) chew the fat ahead of a derby fixture in 1989, while derby rivals Joe Mercer (City, left) and Frank O'Farrell United) chink glasses in 1971

… BUT WE DON'T EVER WANT TO SEE THIS AGAIN, GIGGSY…

Tight fit: Ryan Giggs wearing black leggings during the derby clash on February 13, 2005. Dear, oh dear, Giggsy

Tight fit: Ryan Giggs wearing black leggings during the derby clash on February 13, 2005. Dear, oh dear, Giggsy

Luke Donald leads DP World Tour Championship

Donald leads the way but McIlroy sits one back as top two target another Dubai battle

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UPDATED:

13:58 GMT, 22 November 2012

They’re ranked No 1 and 2 in the world and No 1 and tied second on the leaderboard after the first round of the DP World Tour Championship.

Twelve months after their wonderful duel for the Race to Dubai, Rory McIlroy and Luke Donald are it again here in the Middle East.

Fresh from his win in Japan last week, world No 2 Donald shot a 65 for a one stroke lead over McIlroy, Scot Marc Warren and Spaniard Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano.

Out in front: Luke Donald is the leader after round one of the DP World Tour Championship

Out in front: Luke Donald is the leader after round one of the DP World Tour Championship

DP WORLD TOUR CHAMPIONSHIP

Click here for the full leaderboard

‘There’s a long way to go, of course, but I think it would be fun for everyone if Rory and myself were to find ourselves in the final group on Sunday,’ said Donald.

‘I’d certainly welcome the challenge, that is for sure.’

There would be no Race to Dubai title on the line this time, of course – McIlroy has already sewn that one up – but Donald has his eye on winning this event and adding more gloss on a season that has seen him win three times already to make it eight victories over the last two and a half years.

‘I’d give this season a mark of eight out of 10,’ said Donald. ‘It is true that I didn’t play quite as I wanted at the majors but around them there are a lot of positives to take into next season.

'I’ve won a good number of tournaments over this stretch and I feel like I am in the finest form of my career.’

Sitting pretty: Rory McIlroy is just one behind Donald after the opening round

Sitting pretty: Rory McIlroy is just one behind Donald after the opening round

McIlroy came to the last needing a birdie four to ensure he would be playing with Donald on Friday and was a little miffed to miss out.

‘There’s always a nice buzz playing with Luke,’ he said. ‘We’re the two best-ranked players and he’s so tough to beat. But let’s hope we can keep playing well and so we’re playing together later in the tournament.’

There was a moment of levity in McIlroy’s press conference when his girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki picked up the microphone.

‘Given the amazing support you’re getting out here this week, if you win can I expect a nice Christmas present,’ she said.

Support act: Caroline Wozniacki was there backing her boyfriend McIlroy

Support act: Caroline Wozniacki was there backing her boyfriend McIlroy

‘Don’t you get enough nice presents’ replied Rory.

‘How am I as a cheerleader’ asked Caroline.

‘You’re a better tennis player,’ said McIlroy.

There are plenty of good players in touch who are all intent on ensuring this isn’t just the Luke and Rory show.

Lee Westwood, who clinched both the Race to Dubai and this title here three years ago, is nicely in touch after a 67, the same mark as Padraig Harrington.

Right up there: Lee Westwood is just two shots off the pace after a 67 at the Earth Course

Right up there: Lee Westwood is just two shots off the pace after a 67 at the Earth Course

Two more Ryder Cup players, Justin Rose and Nicolas Colsaerts, shot 68, but Ian Poulter could only manage a 72 and, in typical black and white fashion, said he was disgusted with himself.

‘Finally hit the wall today, the jetlag has caught up with me,’ said Poults, who finished runner-up in Australia last week and won in China three weeks ago.

Shinji Kagawa sidelined for one month with knee injury

United blow as crocked Kagawa is sidelined for one more month with knee injury

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UPDATED:

19:39 GMT, 19 November 2012

Shinji Kagawa faces at least another four weeks on the sidelines, Sir Alex Ferguson has revealed.

The Manchester United midfielder has been absent since suffering a knee injury against Braga at Old Trafford last month.

Initially, Ferguson said he expected the Japan international to be back in action within four or five weeks.

Blow: Kagawa will be sidelined for another four weeks

Blow: Kagawa will be sidelined for another four weeks

However, speaking ahead of Tuesday's encounter with Galatasaray in Istanbul, Ferguson said: 'His progress has been quite slow actually.

'He hasn't started any outside work and, looking now, he may be another four weeks away.'

It is a major blow for the 23-year-old, who has made an impressive start to his United career following a 12million summer move from Borussia Dortmund.

Breaking the news: Ferguson speaks ahead of Tuesday night's game

Breaking the news: Ferguson speaks ahead of Tuesday night's game

With two goals in his first eight appearances, Kagawa had offered Ferguson a valuable attacking option.

Now he will probably not be seen again until the Christmas programme at the earliest, which is hardly ideal given the strength of competition to get into the United side on a regular basis.

'Overall, he will probably be looking at 6-7 weeks since the injury,' said Ferguson. 'The first job now is to get him back.'

David Beckham in talks to join Australian A-League

Is Becks heading Down Under Ex-England captain could join Heskey and Co in Oz

PUBLISHED:

07:45 GMT, 16 November 2012

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UPDATED:

09:41 GMT, 16 November 2012

David Beckham could be set to make a stunning short-term move to the A-League after Football Federation Australia claimed it was in talks to bring the former England captain Down Under.

Beckham signed a two-year deal with the Los Angeles Galaxy in January, but could spend part of the Major Soccer League off-season in Australia.

The 37-year-old has previously joined AC Milan on loan between MLS seasons and the FFA said it had been approached by his management about the possibility of a deal to see him play in the the A-League.

Down Under: Beckham is seeking a move to Australia

Down Under: LA Galaxy star Beckham is seeking a move to Australia

The big-name players Becks could join

Alessandro Del Piero (age 37)
The 91-cap Italy legend recently sealed a move to Sydney FC after a glittering career in Serie A for Juventus.

Emile Heskey (age 34)
The much-maligned former England international has become an instant hit in Australia after joining the Newcastle Jets.

Shinji Ono (age 33)
The former Japan international signed for the Western Sydney Wanderers on a two-year deal

'The approach from David Beckham's
people is another sign of how much the Hyundai A-League has grown in
stature on a global basis,' an FFA spokesperson said.

'Beckham is a superstar on the world
stage and he would be another massive signing for the Hyundai A-League
after the arrivals of Alessandro Del Piero, Emile Heskey and Shinji Ono.

'But this approach remains at a very preliminary stage.'

Reports in Australia suggest that any move for Beckham would likely see him agree a 10-match stay.

A spokesman for Beckham however was
quick to refute the claim, saying: 'David is completely focused on the
MLS play offs and winning another Championship with the Galaxy.

Emile Heskey

Alessandro Del Piero

Australian revolution: Heskey and Del Piero have recently moved to the A-League

'There's always enormous interest from clubs across world in signing David. He has absolutely no plans to play in Australia.'

Beckham could play his last Galaxy
game of the season this weekend when his side meet the Seattle Sounders
in the second leg of their Western Conference Championship play-off.

Centre of attention: Beckham's one-year contract with the Los Angeles Galaxy is due to expire in the next month

Eye on the ball: Beckham could be set to make a short-term move to Australia

The A-League's 'marquee' rule

Any move for Beckham would need to be part-funded by the FFA with the A-League clubs, who work under a salary cap, unlikely to be able to afford his demands.

Most of the Australian clubs have also already secured their marquee player – whose wages are not registered under the salary cap – for the new season, which began early last month.

Perth Glory have already stated an interest in Beckham and Lyall Gormal, executive chairman of new A-League franchise Western Sydney Wanderers, said the former Manchester United and Real Madrid would have obvious commercial appeal.

He told Sky Sports News: 'We haven't had formal or informal contact over this, but clearly we are aware of the iconic vale of David Beckham.

'Beckham is outstanding. We've seen him here before on a couple of occasions. There was an 80,000 sell-out at the Olympic Stadium and he was here with the Galaxy the year before last for a game against the Newcastle Jets.

'He would be a fantastic commodity to bring to Australia.'

David Beckham

David Beckham

No move: Melbourne Victory have already ruled out a move for the former England captain

On the contradictory statements from the FFA and the Beckham camp, Gormal added: 'It is puzzling isn't it

'My understanding is there have been
informal approaches to other clubs. One or two have already come out and
talked about their interest. 'Clearly there has been some informal
discussions so it is a bit puzzling.'

Galaxy meet the Seattle Sounders in the second leg of their Western Conference Championship play-off this weekend.

The Galaxy hold a 3-0 advantage after
Robbie Keane scored twice in the first leg. Should Beckham make the
move he would join the likes of former Juventus and Italy star Del Piero
and Heskey, who joined the A-League in the summer.

Head boy: A spokesperson for Beckham has dismissed the story

Head boy: A spokesperson for Beckham has dismissed the story

The Glory, last season's beaten grand
finalists, are yet to fill that position, however, and their chief
executive Paul Kelly immediately indicated they would be keen should
Beckham be available.

'We are always happy to speak to
players of the calibre of David Beckham, who would be great for the
Hyundai A-League as illustrated by the effect of Alessandro Del Piero,
Emile Heskey and Shinji Ono,' he said.

'At the end of the day it's the
coach, Ian Ferguson who makes these decisions and we as a club, have a
process that we follow when recruiting players.

'But we would be mad not to seriously consider David Beckham.'

Melbourne Victory coach Ange Postecoglou has ruled out making an approach for Beckham.

'That's great if he is coming,' Victory manager Ange Postecoglou told local media. 'Would we be interested Nah.'

Western Sydney Wanderers executive chairman Lyall Gorman told Fairfax Media: 'If we were approached, we would go through the normal process. 'We've had no approaches at all. We don't speculate on those things until they come across our table.'

Roberto Di Matteo says Premier League are endangering Chelsea players" health

Angry Di Matteo blames Premier League for endangering Chelsea players by not postponing fixture near Club World Cup

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UPDATED:

00:10 GMT, 11 November 2012

Roberto Di Matteo has accused the Premier League of risking Chelsea's Club World Cup hopes and his players' health after it refused to postpone the club's Barclays Premier League game against Sunderland.

The European champions had asked for their December 8 clash at the Stadium of Light to be moved in order to allow them to travel early to Japan for the 10-day tournament.

But that request was this week denied, leaving a fuming Di Matteo to moan that Chelsea had not been given enough time to acclimatise to the time difference ahead of their semi-final on December 13.

Annoyed: Roberto Di Matteo thinks the Premier League are being unreasonable

Annoyed: Roberto Di Matteo thinks the Premier League are being unreasonable

The Italian said: 'You would think that the Premier League would have every interest in making sure that they give you the best chance to be successful in Japan, which would reflect very, very well on English football and the Premier League. So, I'm very surprised about it.

'I just can't my head round it. To give yourself the best chance travelling to Japan, with nine hours time difference, arriving three days before, you will need to do everything in your power to be able to ready for those games.

'The tournament starts on the sixth so the team we play in the semi-finals will have been there already for a week.

'It's a big risk in terms of health, injury risk for the players too.'

The Italian added: 'The fixture list is obviously very full.

'But where there's a will, there's a way. You see all the other federations trying to help their teams to do well in Europe.'

It is not the first time Di Matteo has been angered by the scheduling of Chelsea's fixtures, the club having campaigned furiously to avoid a 6pm kick-off in last season's FA Cup semi-final days before their Champions League semi-final against Barcelona.

The Club World Cup is not as highly regarded in England as European competitions but Di Matteo said: 'It's one of the biggest trophies in international club football, if not the biggest.

'Maybe, in England, it's not regarded as so big but you speak to the South Americans, you speak to the Asians, you speak to everybody else involved, it's a massive, massive competition.

Ready for battle: John Terry and Daniel Sturridge could start against Liverpool

Ready for battle: John Terry and Daniel Sturridge could start against Liverpool

'We've never won it. Obviously you need to win the Champions League to even be able to play and be involved. To win that trophy would be something special.

'It's massive. Winning that trophy would mean the world.

'It's a trophy we don't have in our cabinet and we desperately want to bring it to Stamford Bridge.'

Di Matteo could field a weakened team at Sunderland but that would risk a Premier League fine.

He said: 'If you field players from your squad, I'm not so sure you can call it a weakened side. They register a squad, 25 men.'

Risk: Di Matteo might pick reserves against Sunderland but could be fined

Risk: Di Matteo might pick reserves against Sunderland but could be fined

The Premier League discussed Chelsea's request at board level but declined to comment on Di Matteo's complaint.

Manchester United won the Club World Cup in 2008 despite also playing a league match at Tottenham five days before their semi-final.

They also went on to clinch the Premier League title and reach the Champions League final.

Manchester United"s Shinji Kagawa out for three-four weeks

Injury blow for United as Kagawa's ruled out for up to month with knee injury

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UPDATED:

08:55 GMT, 26 October 2012

Shinji Kagawa has been ruled out of action for Manchester United for between three and four weeks after twisting his knee during the first half of Tuesday's
thrilling 3-2 comeback win over Braga.

After picking up the injury, the Japan international struggled on for 20 minutes more before being withdrawn.

Sir Alex Ferguson revealed: 'It's a knee injury similar to the one Ashley Young had but not as bad.

'I think playing on with the injury did not help the situation for him, even though he did well to play on with it. It's disappointing for him.'

More to follow…

Shinji Kagawa of Manchester United feels the pain of an injury

Shinji Kagawa of Manchester United feels the pain of an injury

Concern: Shinji Kagawa feels the pain of an injury against Braga


Tussle: Braga's Leandro Salino challenges Kagawa during the match

Tussle: Braga's Leandro Salino challenges Kagawa during the match