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Kontaviet drops as Swiatek dominates WTA rankings



Agency Report

Poland’s Iga Swiatek continued to dominate the WTA rankings on Monday, with the only notable change being the exit of Estonia’s Annett Kontaveit from the Top 20.

A distant second behind Swiatek was the Belarussian Aryna Sabalenka, who won the Australian Open. Tunisian Ons Jabeur remained third.

Kontaveit, who won the St. Petersburg tournament a year ago but lost in the round of 16 in Abu Dhabi last week, dropped nine spots to 27th.

Swiss Belinda Bencic, who saved three match points as she won the final in Abu Dhabi held on to ninth, while the loser Liudmila Samsonova jumped four places to 15th.

2. Aryna Sabalenka  6100

3. Ons Jabeur (TUN) 5210

4. Jessica Pegula (USA) 5000

5. Caroline Garcia (FRA) 4795

6. Coco Gauff (USA) 3992

7. Maria Sakkari (GRE) 3616

8. Daria Kasatkina  3425

9. Belinda Bencic (SUI) 3275

10. Elena Rybakina (KAZ) 2860

11. Veronika Kudermetova  2740

12. Beatriz Haddad Maia (BRA) 2285

13. Petra Kvitova (CZE) 2227

14. Jelena Ostapenko (LAT) 2210

15. Liudmila Samsonova 2209

16. Simona Halep (ROM) 2141

17. Victoria Azarenka  2138

18. Ekaterina Alexandrova  2005

19. Karolina Pliskova (CZE) 1910

20. Paula Badosa (ESP) 1862


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Crystal Palace sack Patrick Vieira after a string of bad results



Patrick Vieira has been sacked as Crystal Palace Football Club manager. He was sacked after a string of poor performances. The club confirmed the sack on its website on Friday. The statement reads below: Crystal Palace Football Club can confirm that Patrick Vieira has left his post as First Team Manager. Three members of Patrick’s coaching staff – Osian Roberts, Kristian Wilson and Saïd Aïgoun – have also left the club. Chairman Steve Parish said: “It is with enormous regret that this difficult decision has been made. Ultimately, results in recent months have placed us in a precarious league position and we felt a change is necessary to give us the best chance of retaining Premier League status.”That said, Patrick’s impact since joining us in the summer of 2021 has been significant, and he is held in the highest regard by myself, and all of his colleagues. He led the team to a Wembley FA Cup semi-final and respectable 12th placed finish last season playing some exciting football, which was a challenging and crucial campaign for the club given the changes we made to the squad prior to his arrival.”Patrick has given his all to the club, and we all thank him and his team for their service.“We also wish Patrick, Osian, Kristian and Saïd the very best for their futures.” The process to appoint a new manager is underway, and we will provide an update in due course. Dean Kiely will remain as goalkeeping coach.

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African News

I prepare mentally before every race – Amusan



The current World, Commonwealth and African champion in the 100 m hurdles, Tobi Amusan has given an insight into her successful stink on the track last year.The 25-year-old hurdler had a triumphant outing in 2022 and became the first Nigerian world champion in an athletics event, when she won the 2022 World Championships 100m hurdles gold medal and setting the current world record of 12.12secs.In a video chat with Justin Tuckey, the Ogun-born hurdler said she trained hard and prepared herself mentally before any race, noting that it helped her stay focused.“We put our bodies through six hours of training every day for six days a week. And you can be the fittest person in a race and mentally you just get distracted by the other runners on the tracks. A few moments of that ruin everything. And with my kind of event, you need 100 per cent focus,” Amusan said.So, the mental part is just as important, if not more, because you have done the work by training hard and now you show up at the track. Sometimes, it’s not about who is the toughest. I have been in every championship finals and it’s not about the toughest, but who wants it and can relax and execute in most of the race scenarios.“Most times when I train, I do my little talking in my head to prepare myself mentally. What I do in training is what I do on the tracks. So, when you see me out there, I am not crazy, I do this every day, especially when I have lots of hurdle practices.“I say to myself, ‘you are the best, you have to do it.’ That self-affirmation, like talking in your head, kind of gets you going, but the time you get on the track, I know what to say to calm myself down and not put myself under unnecessary pressure. It’s really important to be mentally tough.”

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Champions League: Why Real Madrid Eliminated Us – Liverpool Coach, Klopp



Jurgen Klopp, the Liverpool boss, has spoken up after his Champions League failure.He said that Real Madrid eliminated the Reds from the UEFA Champions League because his team did not show a special performance against Carlo Ancelotti’s side in Spain.Klopp watched as Real Madrid defeated Liverpool 1-0 in the Champions League last-16 second-leg tie at the Santiago Bernabeu.Karim Benzema scored the only goal of the match in the second half as Real Madrid advanced to the Champions League quarter-final on a 6-2 aggregate win, having won 5-2 in the first leg at Anfield last month.Speaking at his post-match press conference, Klopp said that Real Madrid were in control of the game for the full 90 minutes as they were the better team over Liverpool.The German said, “We came here with the backpack we had with the three goals difference. You need a special performance and we didn’t show a special performance tonight.“It was, in moments, a good performance, but Real Madrid was, for the whole game, the team in control of the game. They had the better chances, Ali [Alisson Becker] had to make two sensational saves to keep us in the game and that is the reason.”“In the end, Madrid were the better team and that is why the right team went through to the next round.”

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