'The stars aligned for me' - Ajaz Patel proud to join elite 10-wicket haul club

By Sports Desk December 04, 2021

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  • Black Caps' limited-overs tour of Australia postponed due to New Zealand quarantine rules Black Caps' limited-overs tour of Australia postponed due to New Zealand quarantine rules

    New Zealand Cricket (NZC) has confirmed the Black Caps' limited-overs tour of Australia has been postponed until further notice over a lack of clarity as to when the team could return home.

    Australia were scheduled to welcome their trans-Tasman rivals for three ODIs and a solitary T20I, with New Zealand set to be in the country from January 24 to February 9.

    However, the New Zealand government has been unable to relax strict quarantine rules that have been imposed in response to the Omicron wave of coronavirus.

    The conditions for re-entry into the country mean travellers have to undergo a 10-day period of hard quarantine.

    As such, NZC has confirmed the tour has been shelved for the time being and discussions with Cricket Australia over when the matches can be played are ongoing.

    "As we now know, the advent of Omicron prompted a change of heart from the government, resulting in a hard 10-day mandatory isolation period being imposed on all incoming travellers," said NZC chief executive David White.

    "NZC and CA had explored a proposal to expand the tour and to push out the date on which the squad might return to New Zealand, in the hope that might be more achievable for the government.

    "But we received advice this morning that they could not provide certainty over this, either."

  • Australian Open: She can hit you off the court – Barty wary of Giorgi Australian Open: She can hit you off the court – Barty wary of Giorgi

    World number one Ash Barty is wary of Camila Giorgi's ability to "hit you off the court" ahead of their meeting at the Australian Open.

    Barty crushed Lucia Bronzetti 6-1 6-1 in the second round on Rod Laver Arena on Wednesday.

    The Australian has lost just three games in the opening two rounds at Melbourne Park, where she is bidding to win her third grand slam title.

    Another Italian, 30th seed Giorgi, awaits in the third round and Barty is wary of the hard-hitting 30-year-old.

    "Some very different challenges to what I've had the last couple matches. She has the ability to hold baseline, to control the centre of the court, be super, super aggressive off her serve and first shot, particularly off her return," she said.

    "It's going to be a match where I'm going to have to serve well, bring in variety, make sure I can cover the court, neutralise the best that I can. She has the ability to hit you off the court without realising it's happening.

    "I think it's going to be another match with some fresh challenges. But having played her before, she kind of knows my game, I kind of know hers. It's about going out there and trying to do it as good as I can."

    In three previous meetings with Giorgi, Barty has never lost, although the most recent of those came at the 2018 Australian Open.

    Barty has been in impressive form so far in Melbourne and was pleased with her performance against Bronzetti.

    "Yeah, I felt good. I felt like I wanted to try to use my experience a little bit today, get off to a quick start. I felt like I was able to do that," she said.

    "I served well. I was able to find plenty of forehands and control the match quite well, so pleased with that one."

  • Australian Open: Nadal stays on track in Melbourne Australian Open: Nadal stays on track in Melbourne

    Rafael Nadal remains on track for a record-breaking 21st grand slam title after getting past Yannick Hanfmann at the Australian Open.

    Nadal, bidding to become the outright record holder for the most majors won by a man, was too good for Hanfmann in a 6-2 6-3 6-4 victory in the second round on Wednesday.

    The Spanish star had won his only previous meeting with the German – at the French Open in 2019 – and proved too strong on Rod Laver Arena.

    Nadal will face either Russian 28th seed Karen Khachanov or Frenchman Benjamin Bonzi in the third round.

    Hanfmann held his own early, but Nadal landed the first break in the sixth game, a backhand winner down the line followed by a volley to give him a 4-2 lead.

    A break point went begging for Hanfmann in the next game and Nadal punished him, a tremendous backhand winner down the line clinching the set.

    Just as the sixth game looked set to be Hanfmann's undoing again, the German saved a break point and held for 3-3.

    But a pair of forehand winners would give Nadal a 5-3 lead on his way to taking the second set.

    The contest looked over as Nadal broke for 2-1 in the third set when Hanfmann sent a forehand long to end a 22-shot rally.

    And that proved to be the case, Nadal digging out of a 0-30 hole in the eighth game – and jumping in celebration – before closing out his win with another tough hold.

     

    DATA SLAM: Nadal's second-round perfection in Melbourne intact

    Nadal has never lost in the Australian Open second round.

    He improved that record to 16-0 with the win over Hanfmann. Only once in his career has the 2009 champion bowed out before the third round in Melbourne – losing to Fernando Verdasco in his opener in 2016.

    WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
    Nadal – 30/26
    Hanfmann – 30/32

    ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
    Nadal – 1/5
    Hanfmann – 5/1

    BREAK POINTS WON
    Nadal – 4/16
    Hanfmann – 0/2

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