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.

England pair miss warm weather training due to injury

LONDON Injuries have prevented England's Jack Clifford and James Haskell joining the Six Nations squad for warm weather training in Portugal, the RFU said in a statement on Monday.

The Harlequins back-row forward and Wasps flanker were due to fly out on Monday but were injured in club games on Sunday and will now undergo further medical assessments. A decision will then be made on when they can join the squad.

England's first match is against France on Feb. 4.

(This story has been refiled to correct Clifford's position.)

Ecclestone's exit marks end of an era for F1

By Alan Baldwin
| LONDON

LONDON Bernie Ecclestone used to joke that retirement would come on the day of his funeral but in the end it was an American businessman in a suit who quietly ushered Formula One's 86-year-old ringmaster towards the exit.

Formula One's new U.S.-based owner Liberty Media on Monday completed its takeover of the sport's commercial rights and with it ended one of the longest, most colourful and controversial reigns in global sport.

Algeria are knocked out of Africa Nations Cup

FRANCEVILLE Algeria crashed out of the Africa Nations Cup without winning a game after drawing 2-2 with Senegal in Franceville on Monday.

Algeria, for whom Islam Slimani scored twice, needed to win the Group B game and hope that Zimbabwe beat Tunisia.

In the end neither result happened but Algeria only had themselves to blame for failing to get the better of a much-changed Senegal side.

Senegal started the brighter but fell behind to a swift counter-attack on 10 minutes as Sofiane Hanni broke down the left and crossed for Slimani to volley home.

Tunisia book quarter-final berth with 4-2 win

By Mark Gleeson
| LIBREVILLE

LIBREVILLE Tunisia kept up an impressive recent record of African Nations Cup quarter-final appearances by thumping Zimbabwe 4-2 with a flurry of first-half goals to come second in Group B on Monday.

Naim Sliti, Youssef Msakni, Yassine Khenessi and Wahbi Khazri, with a penalty, wrapped up the win before the break to send Tunisia through with six points, a point behind Senegal.

The Tunisians now stay in the Gabonese capital to meet Burkina Faso on Saturday in the first of the quarter-finals.

Clijsters, Roddick head Hall of Fame's Class of 2017

Former world number one players Kim Clijsters and Andy Roddick headlined the International Tennis Hall of Fame's list of 2017 inductees announced on Monday.

Belgium's Clijsters, bolstered by a powerful baseline game and remarkable defensive skills on court, captured 41 singles titles during her career, including four grand slam titles.

"It is a huge honour to be amongst a list of so many great tennis players who I admired when I was growing up, and some great players who I played with in my tennis career as well," Clijsters said in a statement released by the Hall of Fame.

Injured McIlroy pulls out of Dubai Desert classic

LONDON Rory McIlroy has pulled out of next week's Dubai Desert Classic with a rib injury, the event's promoter said on Monday.

"Obviously, we are disappointed, but we fully understand the situation. Our greatest concern is Rory's health," said Mohamed Juma Buamaim, vice-chairman and CEO of 'Golf in Dubai'.

The twice event champion suffered the injury earlier this month during the first round of the South African Open.

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