Following is a summary of current sports news briefs.
Injury-plagued grand champion Kisenosato retires
Sumo wrestling grand champion Kisenosato retired on Wednesday following a third successive loss at the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament. The 32-year-old was the only Japanese-born wrestler to currently hold the top rank of yokozuna.
'Youth power' key to success for teenager Potapova
The intense pressure of the professional circuit can be taxing for a 17-year-old but Anastasia Potapova of Russia is banking on "youth power" as she aims to make an impression in her Australian Open debut in Melbourne. Former junior number one and Wimbledon junior champion Potapova had a strong 2018 in her second year on the WTA circuit when she reached two finals which secured her a season-end finish in the top 100.
Japan's Olympic Committee head denies impropriety in 2020 bid procedures
The head of Japan's Olympic Committee confirmed that he had been questioned by French authorities in December on Tuesday but repeated his denial there was anything improper about Tokyo's bid for the 2020 Games and vowed to prove his innocence. French financial prosecutors investigating a multi-million dollar payment made by the bid committee to a Singaporean consultancy questioned Tsunekazu Takeda in Paris and he was placed under formal investigation for suspected corruption on Dec. 10, a judicial source told Reuters on Friday.
WADA will not get report until team out of Russia
Due to a threat of interference in the collection of doping data and safety concerns for their inspection team, the Compliance Review Committee (CRC) will not file a report until the Moscow mission is complete, said the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) on Tuesday. Following two days of meetings at WADA's Montreal headquarters the CRC had said it would submit a report on the Russian Anti-Doping Agency's (RUSADA) code compliance status to the executive committee by no later than Thursday.
Australia's Barty shines brightly as compatriots stumble
Australia's top-ranked player Ashleigh Barty beat Wang Yafan 6-2 6-3 in a straight-forward affair on Wednesday, propelling the home country's leading prospect into the third round. The 15th-seeded Barty is the highest ranked local player -- either man or woman -- in the tournament and is known for her court craft and is an accomplished doubles player, while she has also played elite-level cricket.
Ruthless Serena makes strong start in Melbourne return
Serena Williams made a ruthless start to her quest for a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam singles title with a 6-0 6-2 victory over unseeded German Tatjana Maria in the first round of the Australian Open on Tuesday. The seven-time Australian Open champion was pregnant when she won the last of her 23 Grand Slam titles at Melbourne Park and showed she has lost none of her brutal power and athleticism in the match between the two mothers at Rod Laver Arena.
NHL roundup: Habs, Niemi (52 saves) tame Panthers
Montreal backup goalie Antti Niemi was incredible in a record-setting 52-save outing, and the Canadiens strung together a three-goal second period to claim a 5-1 win over the visiting Florida Panthers on Tuesday. Shea Weber, Phillip Danault, Max Domi, Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Brendan Gallagher scored for the Canadiens, who have won four of five and swept their back-to-back games to start the week. Montreal was victorious in Boston on Monday, beating the Bruins 3-2 in overtime.
Venus Williams secures come-from-behind win
Venus Williams celebrated her 19th main draw appearance at the Australian Open with a come-from-behind 6-7(3) 7-6(3) 6-2 victory over 25th seed Mihaela Buzarnescu on Tuesday, marking a successful day for some of the sport's oldest active competitors. The 38-year-old, who is unseeded for the first time since 2014 and is the oldest player in the women's draw, will meet France's Alize Cornet in the second round.
NFL notebook: Eagles still committed to Wentz
Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson didn't waste any time putting an end to speculation about the team's quarterback situation next year. "Carson Wentz is the quarterback going forward," Pederson said at a press conference Tuesday. "And in Nick (Foles') case, listen, we'd love to have everybody back throughout the roster, but as I've said many times, it's not about one guy, it's about the team, and we're going to do what's best for the team."
Federer fends off British 'mirror' Evans to advance
Double defending champion Roger Federer weathered a stern test from the impressive Dan Evans and paid the British battler the ultimate compliment after prevailing 7-6(5) 7-6(3) 6-3 to reach the third round of the Australian Open on Wednesday. Having thrashed Denis Istomin in his Melbourne Park opener, third seed Federer faced a different beast in world number 189 Evans, who made a mockery of his ranking and pushed the Swiss hard throughout a high-quality duel at Rod Laver Arena.