Sport Big names fall in Auckland tennis
Australian Open blow as Ana Ivanovic retires
Fan favourite and former Melbourne Park finalist Ana Ivanovic has retired from tennis on the eve of the Australian summer. Ivanovic endured one of her toughest years in 2016, her last match a first-round loss at the US Open in September.The 2008 French Open champion had planned a comeback next month in Auckland - where she reigned in 2014 - and even posted about her return to training just a fortnight ago.But there will be no summer farewell as Ivanovic, who married German football superstar Bastian Schweinsteiger in Venice in July, prepares for the next chapter in her life.
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The giants of tennis have been slain in the City of Sails.
Danish ace Caroline Wozniacki's surprise quarter-final collapse against Julia Goerges on Thursday leaves none of the big names in the ASB Classic final four.
Wozniacki, seeded third and brimming with confidence after a solid late-2016 run, went down 1-6 6-3 6-4 in 107 minutes.
Breezing through the first set and ahead 3-0 in the second, the Danish world No.19 seemed certain to secure a semi-final berth until Goerges turned it around.
Murray loses season opener to Goffin in Abu Dhabi
World number one Andy Murray started his new season with a surprise 7-6(4) 6-4 loss to David Goffin in the semi-finals of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi on Friday. After losing the opening set at the year-ending exhibition event, Murray, twice winner of the tournament, recovered to go 3-2 up in the second set but Goffin broke back twice and held serve to progress to the final.Goffin will face either Milos Raonic or Rafael Nadal in Saturday's final, with Murray, who lost just nine matches in his entire 2016 season, up against the loser of the semi-final.
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The German, last year's Classic runner-up, won six straight games to snatch the second set before surviving a few jitters to win the decider.
The result follows Wednesday's horror show for the Williams sisters, with Serena losing to unheralded compatriot Madison Brengle and the injured Venus withdrawing.
To rub salt into the wounds for Classic organisers, Japanese prodigy Naomi Osaka retired with a wrist injury in her first set against Croatian eighth-seed Ana Konjuh.
Goerges, Konjuh, Lauren Davis and teen Jelena Ostapenko will now contest a modest semi-final bracket on Friday afternoon.
"The conditions got a little faster at one point and she just started hitting everything, and all of a sudden it was all going in," Wozniacki said.
Djokovic recovers from slow start to begin year with win in Doha
Defending champion Novak Djokovic made a sticky return to action before recovering from losing the opening four games to beat Germany's Jan-Lennard Struff at the Qatar Open on Monday. Djokovic, who was deposed as world number one by Andy Murray at the back end of last year and split with coach Boris Becker, eventually snapped into his usual rhythm to win 7-6(1) 6-3. © REUTERS/Ibraheem Al Omari Tennis - Qatar Open The Serbian will play either Florian Mayer of Germany or Argentine Horacio Zeballos in the second round."It's the first match of the year.
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"She has the game to really trouble a lot of players and when it's on, it's on."
Goerges said the match showcased the best and worst of her game.
At 3-0 down in the second set, she thought defeat was inevitable but kept fighting.
"If I'm playing good tennis I can beat her, so I just needed to find my range," the 28-year-old said.
"I'm still here, I survived somehow."
The 19-year-old Ostapenko will certainly fancy her chances of a maiden WTA title, overcoming the sniffles to dismantle giant-killer Brengle 7-5 6-3.
Brengle started well but faded in the face of Ostapenko's power game.
Ostapenko showcased her credentials with a clinical second set, racing out to a 5-2 lead and holding serve to close out the match.
"In the morning I woke up and had a cold, so it was a bit difficult to play for me," Ostapenko said with a hoarse voice.
"I don't feel 100 per cent but I hope it's going to be better tomorrow."
In the remaining quarter-final, 2015 semi-finalist Davis defeated Barbora Strycova 6-1 7-6 (7-4).
Racing to a 5-0 lead, Davis won the first set with ease before producing a composed tie-break performance to send the fourth-seeded Czech packing.
"I like getting matches under my belt, I had a good off-season so I'm just trying to really enjoy the moment," the 23-year-old Davis said.
Davis will now take on Ostapenko on Friday afternoon, before Goerges and Konjuh slug it out in the evening session.
Aussie tennis player banned for betting .
Australia's Callum Puttergill has been banned for six months by the Tennis Integrity Unit for betting-related offences.The South African-born 23-year-old, who's based in Noosa, is a doubles specialist who plays on the Challenger Tour.
Serena Williams arriving to Auckland, New Zealand for 2017 ASB Classic - December 30, 2016
with Caroline Wozniacki & Alexis Ohanian on the 30th of December 2016 ( 30/12/16 ) NZ for 2017 Auckland Open.
Venus & Serena Williams charity exhibition at ASB Classic in Auckland, New Zealand - January 1, 2017
Williams sisters with Savea brothers & Caroline Wozniacki playing exhibition tennis match to benefit Kaikoura earthquake recovery efforts on the 1st of January ...
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