Sampaoli sets new standard at Sevilla

MADRID Sevilla coach Jorge Sampaoli has taken less than seven months to make his mark at the Spanish team after steering them to a club-record 42 la Liga points at the halfway stage of the season.

Sampaoli's side came from behind to win 4-3 at Osasuna on Sunday, beating their 39-point haul from 19 league games in the 2014-15 campaign under former coach Unai Emery.

Emery, now in charge of Paris St Germain, led Sevilla to 76 points that season, the most in the 126 year-history of the Andalusian club and Sampaoli now has that total in his sights.

De Villiers returns to lead South Africa one-day side

CAPE TOWN South Africa have recalled fit-again batsman AB de Villiers to captain their one-day international side in the five-match home series against Sri Lanka.

The selectors also handed a first call-up in this format to 20-year-old fast bowler Lungi Ngidi and all-rounder Chris Morris returns after an injury layoff for the series starting in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.

Federer ready to restore order against Zverev

MELBOURNE Seeing world number 50 Mischa Zverev and wildcard Denis Istomin upset the top two players in the world at Melbourne Park shows more players believe they can take shake up the established order and that can only be good for tennis, says Roger Federer.

Zverev's win over world number one Andy Murray on Sunday came on the heels of Istomin's second round victory over six-times champion Novak Djokovic, results which not only surprised Federer but saw the odds of him winning the title shortened.

Warner wins Allan Border medal again

SYDNEY Australia opening batsman David Warner won the Allan Border Medal on Monday for the second year in row, becoming only the fourth player to achieve that feat.

The 30-year-old was also named Australia's one-day player of the year following a prolific 2016 during which he scored 2,420 international runs in all formats of the game.

He joined Ricky Ponting, Shane Watson and Michael Clarke as the only players to win Australian cricket's greatest individual honour in successive years.

Barcelona lose Busquets to sprained ankle

BARCELONA Barcelona midfielder Sergio Busquets sprained his right ankle in the 4-0 victory at Eibar, the La Liga club said on Monday.

The Spain international was carried off in the eighth minute of Sunday's game following a challenge from Eibar's Nicolas Escalante.

"Results on Monday confirm that Busquets has a sprained external lateral ligament in his right ankle," Barca said in a statement.

"The player is out and his return will depend on his recovery."

Mason talking to club colleagues after surgery

LONDON Hull City midfielder Ryan Mason spoke to club captain Michael Dawson and medical staff on Monday after fracturing his skull in Sunday's Premier League defeat at Chelsea and undergoing surgery.

"Ryan has been speaking of the incident yesterday and will continue to be monitored at the hospital over the coming days," Hull said in a statement.

The club said Dawson, club doctor Mark Waller, head of medical Rob Price and club secretary Matt Wild had all visited the player at St Mary's Hospital.

Nadal survives Monfils fightback to reach quarter-finals

By Ian Ransom

MELBOURNE Rafa Nadal returned to the grand slam big-time by fending off Gael Monfils 6-3 6-3 4-6 6-4 in a tense clash on Monday to reach the Australian Open quarter-finals.

Former champion Nadal had not reached the last eight in a major since the 2015 French Open, so he celebrated wildly after closing out the two-hour 56-minute clash at a packed Rod Laver Arena.

Karanka criticism a 'lost in translation' moment

LONDON Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka has been urged to "smoke the peace pipe" with fans after criticising their attitude in a stinging 3-1 home Premier League defeat by West Ham United.

The Spaniard described the atmosphere at the Riverside on Saturday as "awful" and said his players deserved more respect from supporters as Boro slid ever closer to the relegation zone.

China's Xi says Winter Games must have no 'grandiose' projects

BEIJING Money must be spent properly for the 2022 Winter Olympics that China is to host and no "grandiose" projects must be allowed, President Xi Jinping said on Monday, as he toured sites for the Games.

Beijing and the nearby city of Zhangjiakou won the right to host the Games in 2015. The only other city bidding was Almaty in Kazakhstan, after other competitors dropped out, citing costs and other worries.

Real's Modric, Marcelo sustain muscle injuries

MADRID Real Madrid pair Luka Modric and Marcelo are facing spells on the sidelines after they suffered muscular injuries, the Spanish club said on Monday.

Brazilian left back Marcelo and Croatian midfielder Modric underwent tests on Monday after being forced off the pitch during Real's 2-1 home win over Malaga on Saturday.

"Following tests carried out today at the Sanitas La Moraleja University Hospital, Marcelo has been diagnosed with a grade 2 muscle injury in his left hamstring," Real said in a statement.