Sports News Roundup: Tennis-Nadal launches Grand Slam record bid by steamrolling Giron; Soccer-Holders Algeria beaten on day of shocks and more
The 24-year-old, who had "severe" symptoms, was among a number of players who returned positive tests after playing in an exhibition event in Abu Dhabi. Tennis-Osaka finding joy again as she kicks off Melbourne Park defence Naomi Osaka said she is enjoying her tennis again and is having fun on the Tour after the defending champion overcame an unexpectedly stiff challenge from Colombian Camila Osorio in her opening round of the Australian Open on Monday.
Following is a summary of current sports news briefs.
Tennis-Nadal launches Grand Slam record bid by steamrolling Giron
Rafa Nadal launched his bid for a record 21st Grand Slam title with a 6-1 6-4 6-2 trouncing of American Marcos Giron on Monday to reach the second round of the Australian Open. With Djokovic sent packing by Australian authorities and Roger Federer absent, Nadal can snatch the men's all-time Slam record outright by claiming the title at Melbourne Park.
Soccer-Holders Algeria beaten on day of shocks
Equatorial Guinea led a string of upsets at the Africa Cup of Nations on Sunday when they beat holders Algeria, while Ivory Coast and Mali were both held by unfancied opponents. Equatorial Guinea pulled off one of the biggest shocks ever seen at the tournament when they outclassed Algeria 1-0, ending a run of 35 unbeaten internationals and relegating the defending champions to last place in Group E.
NFL announces divisional-round playoff schedule
With one game still play in the opening round of the NFL playoffs, the league on Sunday announced the schedule for next weekend's divisional round. Saturday's action kicks off with a matchup between the Tennessee Titans and Cincinnati Bengals at 4:30 p.m. ET on CBS. The top-seeded Titans will be well-rested following a first-round bye, while the fourth-seeded Bengals prevailed against the Las Vegas Raiders on Saturday 26-19.
Tennis-Murray finds spark before long-awaited return to Melbourne Park
Tears, pain and a defiant five-set loss marked Andy Murray's last appearance at the Australian Open but the Scot will stroll Melbourne Park's grounds with a positive outlook for the first time in three years. On Sunday, Murray played his first ATP final since Antwerp in 2019. Although he lost in straight sets to Russian bruiser Aslan Karatsev at the Sydney Tennis Classic, it was an encouraging start to the year for the Briton.
Tennis-Australian Open loses a little lustre for Djokovic fans
The absence of "The King of Melbourne Park" hung heavy over the Australian Open for fans of Novak Djokovic on Monday as the Grand Slam tournament got underway without the nine-times champion and world number one. Djokovic was ushered onto a flight to Dubai on Sunday after losing a Federal Court appeal against the cancellation of his visa to enter Australia.
NBA roundup: Full-strength Jazz take down Nuggets
Donovan Mitchell scored 31 points, Rudy Gobert returned to action with 18 points and 19 rebounds, and the visiting Utah Jazz beat the Denver Nuggets 125-102 on Sunday night. Bojan Bogdanovic scored 21 points for Utah, while Jordan Clarkson had 16, Royce O'Neale finished with 11 and Eric Paschall scored 10.
NFL roundup: Defending champion Bucs take down Eagles
Tom Brady threw for two touchdowns as the second-seeded Tampa Bay Buccaneers opened defense of their Super Bowl crown Sunday with a smooth 31-15 victory over the seventh-seeded Philadelphia Eagles in an NFC wild-card playoff game in Tampa, Fla. Brady completed 29 of 37 passes for 271 yards in an efficient performance, enabling Tampa Bay to stay home next weekend for a conference semifinal. Mike Evans caught nine passes for 117 yards and a score.
Bencic advances but says still not 100% after COVID-19
Belinda Bencic moved into the Australian Open second round on Monday with a 6-4 6-3 win over France's Kristina Mladenovic but the Olympic champion said she is still not at her best after testing positive for COVID-19 last month. The 24-year-old, who had "severe" symptoms, was among a number of players who returned positive tests after playing in an exhibition event in Abu Dhabi.
Tennis-Osaka finding joy again as she kicks off Melbourne Park defence
Naomi Osaka said she is enjoying her tennis again and is having fun on the Tour after the defending champion overcame an unexpectedly stiff challenge from Colombian Camila Osorio in her opening round of the Australian Open on Monday. The Japanese 24-year-old, who also triumphed at Melbourne Park in 2019, won 6-3 6-3 at the Rod Laver Arena, removing any doubts about her fitness after she withdrew from a recent tune-up event due to an abdominal injury.
Australia leaves door open for Djokovic to play at next year's Open
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has left the door open for Novak Djokovic to compete at next year's Australian Open despite the tennis superstar facing an automatic three-year ban from entering the country. The world number one player left Australia late on Sunday after the Federal Court upheld a government decision to cancel his visa, capping days of drama over the country's COVID-19 entry rules and his unvaccinated status.
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