23-01-2019 Serena Williams knocks out Simona Halep in epic Australian Open clash - highlights

Serena Williams outlines why she is the favourite to win the Australian Open with a 6-1 4-6 6-4 win over world number one Simona Halep in a high-quality last-16 match.

23-01-2019 How did Barcelona end up signing Kevin-Prince Boateng? | Sid Lowe

The arrival of the former Milan forward makes some sense, but also hints at a certain improvisation in Barça’s planningBarcelona’s latest signing is football royalty, just not the way they expected. Late on Monday night, in the club store just across the concourse from the Camp Nou, closed to the public, he stood smiling and holding up his new shirt: “Prince, 19”. From Hertha to Tottenham, from Dortmund to Portsmouth and, five clubs and nine years later, from Sassuolo to Barcelona, Kevin-Prince Boateng’s 10th club is the biggest of them all. It was also the biggest surprise; their new centre-forward comes from leftfield, unforeseen by anyone.Boateng described this as a huge “opportunity”. It is one he did not expect, echoes of the day that his agent told him he was going to Milan and Boateng thought he was joking. Some in Spain reacted similarly when the news broke with the deal already done. Boateng joins on loan, with an €8m optional purchase clause in the summer. The headlines in the Catalan papers came with exclamation marks. Boateng, the “hidden option”, “the surprise”, ran the front pages. Continue reading...

23-01-2019 Serena Williams knocked out of Australian Open by Karolina Pliskova after holding match points

Serena Williams misses four match points before succumbing to Czech Karolina Pliskova in a dramatic Australian Open quarter-final.

23-01-2019 Marc Skinner: ‘Orlando Pride are mesmerising. It’s a different level’

After leaving his beloved Birmingham, the young manager is relishing working with global stars such as Marta and Morgan“I asked the guys if I could just spend a little bit of time in the middle of the pitch to visualise what the players go through.”Standing in front of 25,500 purple seats, the new Orlando Pride manager Marc Skinner paused to drink it all in. It is a world away from Solihull Moors’ 3,050‑capacity Damson Park, where his former club, Birmingham City women, ply their trade. Continue reading...

23-01-2019 'Humble and generous, but a private enigma' - who was Leicester City's owner?

Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha is revered in Leicester as the man who presided over one of sport's great triumphs - but who was the billionaire Thai businessman?

23-01-2019 Premier League: 10 talking points from the weekend's action

Unai Emery gets better of Maurizio Sarri, Mohamed Salah takes shine off his milestone and Riyad Mahrez victim of City’s powerWhile these have been a troubled few weeks for Arsenal, with Sven Mislintat’s impending exit set to leave a big hole in their recruitment department, their victory over Chelsea was a reminder there have been plenty of positives during Unai Emery’s first season. The Spaniard has had to muddle along with an imbalanced squad but has shown he can make important tactical interventions on several occasions. He certainly got the better of Maurizio Sarri, disrupting the Chelsea manager’s attempts to build from the back by using an energetic high press, and his switch to a midfield diamond demonstrated Arsenal have become more flexible since parting company with Arsène Wenger. Emery’s side played with snap and bite from the start, with the tone set by Lucas Torreira’s waspish performance, and the impressive Aaron Ramsey. Jacob Steinberg Continue reading...

23-01-2019 World sport: 10 photos we liked this week - 22-28 October

A selection of the most striking sports photographs from around the world this week.

23-01-2019 Usain Bolt: Sprinter-turned-footballer declares his 'sports life over'

Eight-time Olympic champion Usain Bolt officially calls time on his pursuit of a career in professional football, declaring his "sports life over".

23-01-2019 A bluffer's guide to Marcelo Bielsa-style tactical analysis

With Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa's media presentation about his methods sparking debate, Opta's Duncan Alexander shows how modern clubs prepare for games.

23-01-2019 Wayne Rooney spoke 'broken English' at time of arrest, says police report

Footballer was arrested in December for public intoxicationFormer England captain plays for DC United in MLSThe former England captain Wayne Rooney was speaking “broken English” when he was arrested for public intoxication and swearing at a Washington DC airport last month, it has emerged.Deadspin obtained the incident report from the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Police, and published the details on Tuesday. According to the report, the arresting officer was dispatched after receiving a report of a person trying to go through a secure door. Continue reading...

23-01-2019 Which football teams doctored their playing surface to hinder opponents? | The Knowledge

Plus: top-scoring defenders, non-league double delight and strange middle names. Mail us or tweet @TheKnowledge_GU“Pep Guardiola says he didn’t leave the Etihad grass long against Liverpool. But which teams or managers have used this tactic to help their own side or hinder an opponent?” asks George Jones.Let’s start with the Poundland Machiavelli, former Cambridge and Lincoln innovator John Beck. Everyone in football knows about the infamous Beck and the stunts he used to pull at Cambridge. He brought in statisticians to lecture his players about how few passes were needed to score. He had the grass grown several inches long in the corners to hold up the ball when his players knocked it over the top. During the week they would rough up the pitch so anybody who tried to play football against them was at a disadvantage. “We just used to boot it upfield, so it didn’t really matter to us,” Steve Claridge recalls in his autobiography. Continue reading...

23-01-2019 Rise of the TV rules analysts shows the NFL has a problem

Former officials were picking over controversial decisions on Championship Sunday, a sign that things had gone badly awry for the leagueHere is one statistic you won’t find in the official game book from Sunday’s AFC Championship Game: it took 59 minutes in real time to complete the last eight minutes and 39 seconds of the fourth quarter. All the more time for ad breaks selling pickup trucks and building drama with men who have become central to NFL broadcasts, the “rules analysts.”The Kansas City Chiefs and New England Patriots combined to score 31 points in that span, but the game was also stopped four times so critical plays could be reviewed by the replay official. The longest stretch came when play grinded to a halt for seven minutes while officials reviewed New England receiver Justin Edelman’s apparent muffed handling of a punt, which the Chiefs, trailing 17-14 at the time, recovered at the New England 28-yard line. Continue reading...

23-01-2019 Football transfer rumours: Bayern Munich to move for Rabbi Matondo?

Today’s rumours are taking the strainRumours of players staying put are never that exciting, we know that. You come here for big-money talk, hot gossip of signings emerging from the leftfield. But we can’t just play to the gallery, and the top line today concerns Eden Hazard, who is now thinking of signing a new contract at Chelsea, perhaps buoyed by the impending arrival of Gonzalo Higuaín.Manchester United won’t satisfy your crazed lust for fresh meat either. They’re mainly concerned with tying down both Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial to new deals, you see, with the pair willing to talk now the gaff has been decontaminated. Scott McTominay has already put pen to paper on a spanking new contract as well, upping the current feelgood factor at Old Trafford to 11. Continue reading...

23-01-2019 England call up Jonathan Joseph to Six Nations squad for Portugal trip

• Centre in contention to play against Ireland in opener• No place for Danny Cipriani despite Owen Farrell injuryJonathan Joseph has been added to England’s Six Nations squad despite making only one appearance in the past nine months. Eddie Jones has opted against any fly-half cover for the injured Owen Farrell, dashing Danny Cipriani’s hopes of a recall. Joseph’s addition is the only change to the squad to travel to Portugal on Wednesday, with Farrell, as well as Joe Launchbury and Brad Shields, who emerged as fitness worries on Sunday, confirmed among the 36-man group. Launchbury is no longer a concern but Shields’s participation against Ireland on 2 February is in the balance due to a side strain.Farrell was always expected to head to Portugal and England are confident their captain will be fit to face Ireland but after undergoing thumb surgery last Saturday, it remains to be seen if he can take a full part in training in Portugal, the first session of which is on Friday. That raised the possibility of England calling on an extra fly-half with Cipriani among the potential options but Jones has handed the extra place in his squad – he can select a maximum of 36 – to Joseph. Continue reading...

23-01-2019 Rugby still has room for unorthodox magic to prevail in Six Nations | Robert Kitson

Stuart Barnes’ latest book is a timely reminder before the 2019 Six Nations of how the unexpected can be decisiveThe language of rugby has changed hugely in the past quarter of a century. What used to be a tackle is now a big hit and wingers have wheels or gas as opposed to pace. The term dummy scissors belongs in a museum, along with garryowens and argy-bargy. Naughty feet, game-changers, taking the learnings and going upstairs are rather more commonplace now than sidesteps, replacements, mud-baths or players drinking bottles of red to help them sleep better on the eve of major internationals.It partly explains why Stuart Barnes’s new book, Sketches from Memory, is such a thought-provoking read. As a commentator and pundit, few wrestle with rugby’s modern lexicon on a more regular basis than Barnesy, never one to employ a cliché where a smart literary reference might do instead. The former Bath and England fly-half writes as he once played: dull orthodoxy remains his sworn enemy. His latest tome, typically, is not just any old rugby book. From Bob Dylan to Bath and Shakespeare to Sky, there is something for everyone in its honest, trenchant revealing and, occasionally, poetic pages. Continue reading...

23-01-2019 Dakar Rally 2019: Sand, sea, helicopters and canines – in pictures

After 10 stages and more than 5,000 kilometres of brutal racing on a giant loop rally-route entirely in Peru, 70% of which was across desert, we bring you some of our favourite images from this year’s Dakar RallyClick here to check out images of the rally from yesteryear Continue reading...

23-01-2019 Transfer window January 2019 – every deal from Europe's top five leagues

All the latest deals and club-by-club guides for the top divisions in England, Spain, Italy, France and Germany Continue reading...

23-01-2019 Five West Indies players to watch against England

From Roston Chase to Shimron Hetmyer, the players who could give England problems during the forthcoming Test seriesSpin-bowling all-rounder who has been outscored by only Kraigg Brathwaite over the 30 months since his Test debut. He disappointed on the tour of England in 2017, when he averaged 13.33 in six innings, but stood out in last year’s trip to India, where he averaged 46.25, scored a century – the only one in his last 30 Test innings – in Hyderabad and was his team’s most consistent player. “He’s a quality player,” says the former West Indies head coach, Stuart Law. “I think he understands spin. They face a lot of spin back in the Caribbean. He has a long reach and he’s a clean striker of the ball. He has worked hard against pace and it’s not a weakness any more, it has started becoming a strength.” The 26-year-old is increasingly unlikely to be seen with the ball in his hand, though: Chase bowled at least 30 overs in four of his first five Tests, but has not done so since Headingley in 2017 and these days rarely gets into double figures. Continue reading...

23-01-2019 Fearless esports racers blur lines between games and the real thing | Andy Bull

McLaren are investing in sim racing which, they think, could lead to an F1 champion in the next decadeLast Saturday afternoon a 23-year-old Italian called Enzo Bonito won a car race at the Foro Sol in Mexico City, and when he did it, motorsport shifted, just a little bit, towards a strange new future. Bonito was competing in the Race of Champions (RoC), racing head-to-head in a heat against Lucas di Grassi, a 34-year-old who won the Formula E championship just a couple of seasons back. And then, just to prove it wasn’t a fluke, Bonito did it again the next day. This time he beat the 2012 Indycar champion, Ryan Hunter-Reay. The thing is, Bonito is a sim racer. He learned everything he knows from playing computer games.“It wasn’t much of a surprise for me at all, if I’m honest,” says Ben Payne, who is the director of esports at McLaren. “But I know it raises eyebrows for a lot of other people.” McLaren are investing a lot of time, effort and money in esports. Bonito is part of their team, along with Rudy van Buren, who won three races at last year’s RoC, in Riyadh. Van Buren was working as a kitchen salesman when he won McLaren’s World’s Fastest Gamer competition, which earned him a year-long job as their simulator driver. Later this year, Payne says, Van Buren will probably make the switch from being a virtual racing driver to a real racing driver. Continue reading...