Toure criticises players who swap top leagues for China cash

Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure has criticised fellow footballers who have traded Europe for China, saying he would prefer to follow Manchester United forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic's example and stay in a competitive league.

Chinese Super League clubs have made a number of high-profile recent signings recently, with Shanghai SIPG buying Brazil midfielder Oscar from Chelsea for 60 million euros ($64.46 million).

Their rivals Shanghai Shenhua signed Argentine striker Carlos Tevez for a reported 84 million euros, but Toure said money was not everything to him.

Van Dijk doubtful for Southampton's League Cup semi-final

Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk could miss Wednesday's League Cup semi-final second leg against Liverpool at Anfield after injuring his ankle in Sunday's 3-0 Premier League win over Leicester City, manager Claude Puel has said.

Southampton hold a one-goal advantage going into the tie, but the loss of former captain Jose Fonte, who has moved to West Ham United, coupled with the injury to Van Dijk, could leave them short of experienced cover in the heart of defence.

Wawrinka wins testy clash with Tsonga to reach semi-finals

By Ian Ransom
| MELBOURNE

MELBOURNE Former champion Stan Wawrinka engaged in a war of words with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga but won the argument that counted to storm into the Australian Open semi-finals with a 7-6(2) 6-4 6-3 win over the Frenchman on Tuesday.

Wawrinka bickered heatedly with 12th seed Tsonga during a change of ends after the first set before putting his aggression to better use, wrapping up the one-sided match in two hours and 15 minutes on a sun-bathed Rod Laver Arena.

Scrap 'nonsense' doubles format, says Jamie Murray

By Simon Cambers
| MELBOURNE

MELBOURNE Top men's doubles player Jamie Murray has called for an end to the ATP Tour's scoring system in the format and says there is widespread support for it to be changed.

While the grand slams have stuck to the best-of-three sets system, the men's tour uses a sudden-death point at deuce and has a tiebreak in place of a final set.

The system was introduced in 2006 to help broadcast rights holders better plan their schedules.

Bilic predicts bright future for fit-again Carroll

West Ham United striker Andy Carroll is poised to enter the best stretch of his career if he can stay fit, according to manager Slaven Bilic.

Carroll's career has been plagued by injury problems and the 28-year-old missed more than four months of the current season, from mid-August to December, with West Ham winning just three of 12 league games in that period.

Vandeweghe blasts into first grand slam semi-final

MELBOURNE Coco Vandeweghe blasted her way into her first grand slam semi-final with a dominant display of power tennis to destroy French Open champion Garbine Muguruza 6-4 6-0 at the Australian Open on Tuesday.

The 25-year-old American, who was equally as impressive in dispatching world number one Angelique Kerber in the previous round, controlled the match from the seventh game of the first set when she achieved her first break of serve.

Defending champions Ivory Coast could be next casualty

By Mark Gleeson
| LIBREVILLE

LIBREVILLE African Nations Cup holders Ivory Coast could be the next major casualty at this year's tournament unless they can get the better of Morocco and their former coach Herve Renard in their last Group C match at Oyem on Tuesday.

The Ivorians must beat Morocco to secure progress to the last eight. Failure to do so will see them follow hosts Gabon and pre-tournament favourites Algeria out the door.

Venus reaches first Melbourne Park semi in 14 years

By Ian Ransom
| MELBOURNE

MELBOURNE Venus Williams continued her astonishing late-career revival by felling Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-4 7-6(3) on Tuesday to reach her first Australian Open semi-final in 14 years.

The quarter-final will hardly be remembered as a classic, with both Williams and the 24th-ranked Russian surrendering serve with alarming regularity despite perfect conditions for tennis at Rod Laver Arena.

Smartphones are hitting skill levels, says England vision coach

LONDON England's new vision coach believes modern rugby players spend so much time looking at smartphones they are less skilful and not as aware of what is happening on the pitch around them.

The expert hired by the Rugby Football Union to improve hand-eye coordination among England players ahead of this year's Six Nations says she has seen a deterioration across all sports over the six years in which phone use has rapidly increased.

Tunisia advance, Algeria exit at Nations Cup

By Mark Gleeson
| LIBREVILLE

LIBREVILLE The African Nations Cup burst into life as Tunisia joined Senegal in the quarter-finals and Algeria, among the pre-tournament favourites, were eliminated after 10 goals were scored at the conclusion of Group B on Monday.

Senegal, who had already secured top place, rested key players as they drew 2-2 with Algeria in Franceville, while Tunisia, who needed just one point to take second spot, comfortably beat Zimbabwe 4-2 in Libreville.

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