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Karen Khachanov wins 14 straight games to crush Nishioka at Australian Open



A dominant Karen Khachanov won the first 14 games before surging into his maiden Australian Open quarter-final on Sunday in a straight sets romp over Japan’s outclassed Yoshihito Nishioka.

The Russian 18th seed swept past his racquet-smashing opponent 6-0, 6-0, 7-6 (7/4) on John Cain Arena.

Nishioka, seeded 31, was so out of touch in the opening two sets that he won just 13 points.

In set two, he managed only two points across six games in an embarrassing annihilation.

Khachanov appeared on track to become only the sixth player in Grand Slam history, and the first since 1993, to record a triple bagel win — 6-0, 6-0, 6-0 — before Nishioka finally won the 15th game to huge cheers from the crowd.

The victory put him into the last eight at a Grand Slam for the fifth time. His best result was reaching the semi-finals at the US Open last year, where he lost to Casper Ruud.

He will next face either American 29th seed Sebastian Korda or Polish 10th seed Hubert Hurkacz.

“First two sets, I didn’t know what was going on,” he said. “You’re going with the score, let’s say, too easy. Then Yoshi turned it around, pumped the crowd and I tried to stay focused from beginning to end.

“It’s not easy to win with this score, three sets, but I’m playing well and really happy to go through,” he added.

The Russian, a former world number eight, has won four career titles, all on hard courts, and was simply too good for Nishioka.

He broke the Japanese star straight away then twice more as Nishioka struggled with his first serve and Khachanov attacked the second.

Nishioka hit just three winners in the opening set, while making 12 unforced errors in a 26-minute thrashing.

Things did not improve for him in the next, with Khachanov breaking twice early to go 4-0 clear, with Nishioka destroying his racquet in frustration by repeatedly smashing it to the ground.

The Olympic silver medallist romped through the set in just 20 minutes, but with a rare triple bagel on the cards, Nishioka lifted in set three.

He broke and then held to the delight of the crowd to make a match of it before finally succumbing in a tense tiebreak.

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Leading Mexico players snub Davis Cup tie over differences with federation | Tennis News



Mexico’s leading tennis players have decided not to play in next week’s Davis Cup World Group playoff tie against Taiwan due to differences with the Mexican Tennis Federation (FMT).

Led by Santiago Gonzalez, Alejandro Hernandez and Miguel Angel Reyes-Varela, the players said they will not take part in the Feb. 4-5 Group I playoff tie in Metepec, State of Mexico.

“After a difficult deliberation, we have not reached a positive conclusion, so we have decided not to participate in the upcoming series against the Chinese Taipei team,” said the players’ statement, published on social media on Monday.

“The lack of communication, lack of planning and lack of interest show that the situation has not been handled in the right way and that personal interests have taken precedence over sporting ones.

“It is sad that the FMT does not have the minimum standards in dealing and planning with the best national representatives.”

The players said they had already informed the federation of their reasons for not participating in the Davis Cup tie.

The statement was also signed by players Ernesto Escobedo, Lucas Gomez, Hans Hach, Gerardo Lopez, and Manuel Sanchez.

The FMT was not immediately available to comment.

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West Ham set up Man United tie by beating Derby | Football News



West Ham United eased into the FA Cup fifth round with a comfortable 2-0 victory away to third-tier Derby County on Monday to set up a meeting with Manchester United.

Derby, fourth in League One, went into the match on the back of 14 matches unbeaten in all competitions but were quickly overrun by the Premier League side, who took the lead in the 10th minute with a close-range volley from Jarrod Bowen.

Bowen went 12 matches without a goal before netting twice against Everton last week and now has three in his last two games.

The forward then crossed for striker Michail Antonio to head in a second goal five minutes after the interval to break his own goal drought stretching back to November.

David Moyes’ side saw out the victory without conceding many chances, recording back-to-back wins for the first time since October, and Bowen said he hoped the win would boost his side, who are 16th in the table, one point above the relegation zone.

“Two wins on the bounce is good for us it’s all about results and momentum and we can use this as a real springboard,” he said.

Midfielder Pablo Fornals added: “Everyone knows it hasn’t been an easy season so every game we can win gives us massive confidence.

“We work hard every day in training to get a chance and then you have to take it. That’s what the players tried to do tonight.”

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Valencia sacks coach Gennaro Gattuso for poor results | Football News



Spanish club Valencia sacked coach Gennaro Gattuso on Monday following the team’s poor results.

Valencia said in a statement it reached a mutual agreement with Gattuso to end their contract.

The announcement came after a 1-0 loss at Valladolid in the Spanish league on Sunday. The club has won only one of its last 10 league games, before the World Cup.

The latest defeat dropped Valencia to 14th place, one point above the relegation zone.

Its only two wins this year came in the Copa del Rey, though it was eliminated in the quarterfinals by Athletic Bilbao at home last week. In the Spanish Super Cup, Valencia lost to Real Madrid in a penalty shootout in the semifinals.

The 45-year-old Gattuso arrived last June on a two-year contract.

The former defensive midfielder helped Italy win the 2006 World Cup and AC Milan win two Champions League titles, both as a player. He coached Milan and Napoli in Italy.

Valencia did not announce a replacement for Gattuso.

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