Sport Halep, Kerber avoid 3rd-round chaos at Australian Open
Bianca Andreescu to miss Australian Open
Bianca Andreescu, who beat Serena Williams in the U.S. Open final, will miss the Australian Open.The Canadian Andreescu cited rehab from a knee injury that forced her to retire during a match with Karolina Pliskova at the WTA Finals on Oct. 30. The Australian Open begins Jan. 20.
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Simona Halep and Angelique Kerber have held Grand Slam trophies aloft, and so have learned to keep their heads down when clusters of highly-ranked players start losing in the first week of majors.
Wimbledon champion Halep and Kerber, who won her breakthrough major in Australia in 2016 and has added two Grand Slam titles since, navigated a chaotic third round at the Australian Open to reach the second week.
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The government used helicopters to help feed starving animals displaced by the country's wildfire crisis.The Australian government is using helicopters and airplanes to help feed starving animals displaced by the country's wildfire crisis.
Second-seeded Karolina Pliskova, a semifinalist here last year, and No. 6 Belinda Bencic, a semifinalist at last year's U.S. Open, had straight-sets losses on Saturday, the day after 23-time major winner Serena Williams and defending champion Naomi Osaka exited in third-round upsets.
“Not at all. I’m not focusing on other players — just focusing on myself,” Halep said after her 6-1, 6-4 win over Yulia Putintseva on Rod Laver Arena, the match after Pliskova lost to 7-6 (4), 7-6 (3) to 30th-seeded Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. “It doesn’t matter who is winning, who is losing, I just have to do my job when I step onto court.”
Scientists find Australian wildfire smoke has circled the globe
A satellite traced the movement of the smoke and produced an image Monday showing areas in Australia where the smoke had reached its place of origin. The smoke from Australia has already had a "dramatic impact" on New Zealand, where it is "turning the skies hazy and causing colorful sunrises and sunsets," NASA said in a statement.NASA has emphasized that the fires in Australia can cause global damage, saying that "unprecedented conditions that include searing heat combined with historic dryness" have led to an erratic weather phenomenon called "fire clouds.
Kerber had 6-2, 6-7 (4), 6-3 win over Camila Giorgi. In a later news conference, she almost laughed when asked if nervousness was contagious in the locker room when the top players start exiting.
“Every match starts from zero — doesn't matter who against you play," she said. “You have sometimes a little bit bad days, good days. So it's more about caring yourself, working on your strengths and going for it. So it's nothing about looking around."
The left-handed Kerber next faces Pavlyuchenkova, who was a junior champion here 12 years ago when she beat Caroline Wozniacki in the final. They're playing for a spot in the quarterfinals, a stage Pavlyuchekova has reached five times but never surpassed at the majors.
Australian Open air quality a worry for asthma sufferer Kvitova
Petra Kvitova said poor air quality at the Australian Open was a concern.The year's first major has been impacted by poor air quality in Victoria's capital after bushfires ravaged Australia in recent months. Organizers have faced criticism during the qualifying rounds, although air quality has been rated as "good" in Melbourne since Thursday.
She said she hasn't been patient enough in the past, but is putting more value on each match now. She'd only ever taken one set off Pliskova in six previous losses, but decided to target one of the best serves in the women's game on Rod Laver — and it worked.
Having a bunch of top players missing from the second week doesn't come into her thinking, either.
“I don’t focus so much on names any more. I’ve been on the tour for a while," she said, when asked about the absence of Williams, Osaka and so on. "Those are really big names and great players, but it’s tennis. Nowadays, as you can see, surprises happen. I just try not to lose myself and be in the present, do what I have. I have the next match to play Angelique — why should I care about all the other names?"
Williams, who has won seven Australian titles among her 23 majors, 2018 champion Wozniacki and defending champion Osaka all lost on Friday. Wozniacki went immediately into retirement but Williams vowed to continue her pursuit of Margaret Court's all-time record 24 majors after her loss to Wang Qiang, a player she'd beaten in 44 minutes at last year's U.S. Open. Osaka, who won back-to-back majors at the 2018 U.S. Open and last year here in Australia, lost to 15-year-old Coco Gauff.
Three U.S. Firefighters Die in Water-Bomber Crash in Australia
Three U.S. firefighters have died after their water-bombing plane crashed while battling a blaze near the Kosciuszko National Park, as Australia’s wildfire crisis flares again. The trio were working for Coulson Aviation, which bills itself as the global leader in aerial firefighting, and was contracted by the New South Wales Rural Fire Service to help fight the blazes.“A large air tanker crashed in the Snowy Monaro region,” New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian said at a press conference Thursday afternoon. “Our thoughts and prayers and heartfelt condolences go to their families.
Bencic, a semifinalist at the U.S. Open last September, was rolled 6-0, 6-1 in 49 minutes by 28th-seeded Anett Kontaveit, who will next play Iga Swiatek, the No. 59-ranked player from Poland who took out 19th-seeded Donna Vekic 7-5, 6-3.
Men' No. 1 Rafael Nadal was playing No. 27 Pablo Carreno Busta in the afternoon match on the main court at Melbourne Park.
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Australia heatwave renews bushfire worries .
Australia was bracing for a heatwave to sweep across the country's fire-ravaged southeast in the coming days, with the forecast stoking fears the soaring temperatures could inflame bushfires. © SAEED KHAN The renewed fire threat came as worst-hit New South Wales announced an inquiry into the catastrophic bushfire season, which has left at least 32 people dead and devastated vast swathes of the country since September Temperatures reached above 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) on Thursday in South Australia state, where dangerous fire weather warnings were issued in several bushfire-prone areas.
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