Sports News Roundup: Tennis-Rybakina meets Sabalenka in clash of big hitters for Australian Open crown; Soccer-Key U.S. Soccer officials depart, Berhalter's future uncertain and more
Following is a summary of current sports news briefs.
Tennis-Rybakina meets Sabalenka in clash of big hitters for Australian Open crown
Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina began her Australian Open campaign on the outer courts at Melbourne Park but the 22nd seed is now just one step away from winning her second major, with only fellow big-hitter Aryna Sabalenka standing in her way.
Russian-born Rybakina switched allegiance to Kazakhstan in 2018 to get more financial support and went on to become the country's first major singles champion at the All England Club, where she beat Tunisian Ons Jabeur in the final.
Soccer-Key U.S. Soccer officials depart, Berhalter's future uncertain
U.S. Soccer sporting director Earnie Stewart and men's team general manager Brian McBride have decided to vacate their positions amid an ongoing shakeup at the organization, the federation said on Thursday. Stewart will remain in the job until Feb. 15 to ensure a smooth transition before heading to the Netherlands to join PSV Eindhoven.
Soccer-Corica sought advice from Socceroos' Arnold during Sydney struggles
Sydney FC's Steve Corica said he turned to Australia coach Graham Arnold for advice amid speculation over his future at the helm of the former A-League champions. Corica led Sydney to the title in 2019 and 2020 but came under pressure after a poor start to the current campaign left them close to the bottom.
Motor racing-Ferrari boss assures Sainz on his status within team
New Ferrari boss Fred Vasseur has dampened speculation he would favour Charles Leclerc by hailing Carlos Sainz as a winner and important team member, revealing also that he twice tried to sign the Spaniard for his previous Formula One teams. Sainz, 28, joined Ferrari from McLaren in 2021 and last April -- under then principal Mattia Binotto -- signed a contract extension to the end of 2024.
Exclusive-JPMorgan looking to finance Italy's Serie A for up to 1 billion euros -sources
JPMorgan Chase & Co has written to Italy's top soccer league to express a preliminary interest in supporting the development of Serie A's media business, three people close to the matter said. The sources said the 20 clubs which comprise Serie A were informed of the interest by the U.S. bank at a closed-door meeting of their top executives on Thursday.
Tennis-Soccer mom Azarenka ordered to take off PSG shirt at Australian Open
Self-described "obnoxious soccer mom" Victoria Azarenka was ordered to take off her Paris St Germain shirt at the Australian Open on Thursday before bowing out of the Grand Slam with a straight sets defeat by Elena Rybakina in the semi-finals. The 33-year-old Belarusian twice champion has worn shirts showing support for French soccer champions PSG at the tournament and as a gesture to her six-year-old son Leo, who is also a big fan of the Paris club.
Olympics-Ukrainian Heraskevych unhappy with move to allow Russians to compete in Asia
Ukrainian skeleton racer Vladyslav Heraskevych criticised the International Olympic Committee on Thursday for considering allowing Russian and Belarusian athletes to return to international competitions. Since Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February, many sports bodies have moved events and suspended Russian teams or athletes, while sponsors have ended contracts in protest against the war.
Golf-Immelman expects Woods to be ready for Masters return
Tiger Woods will not be at his favourite hunting ground of Torrey Pines this week but former Masters winner Trevor Immelman expects to see the 15-time major champion back at Augusta National in April. Woods has made few competitive appearances since last July's British Open as the former world number one deals with yet another health issue - plantar fasciitis - that has further slowed his recovery from injuries sustained in a near fatal 2021 car crash.
Soccer-Ronaldo's Al Nassr knocked out of Saudi Super Cup
Cristiano Ronaldo's Al Nassr were knocked of the Saudi Super Cup on Thursday after a 3-1 semi-final loss to Al Ittihad in Riyadh. The 37-year-old Portugal international, five-times Ballon D'Or winner, had a couple of chances to score but was well shackled by the Al Ittihad defence for most of the match.
Motor racing-Ferrari's only target is the title, says new boss Vasseur
Ferrari have everything they need to succeed and will be chasing the title this season with Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz starting on equal terms, according to new team boss Fred Vasseur. Vasseur, who joined from Swiss-based Alfa Romeo on Jan. 9 as Ferrari's fifth boss in less than a decade, told reporters via Zoom in his first media call since taking over that the target was obvious.
(With inputs from agencies.)