Victoria Azarenka defeats Barbora Krejcikova, Ostrava Open


Former world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka has stunned the tennis world with her gravity-defying feat in the Ostrava Open.

During her round of 16 match against Czech tennis star Barbora Krejcikova in Ostrava, Azarenka fought back after losing the opening set in a double break.

Taking the match to a must-win third set, the Belarusian was serving for the match when her backhand slice skimmed across the top of the net before toppling over the other side.

Azarenka could barely comprehend what she had witnessed, crouching onto one knee and giggling in disbelief.

“That is extraordinary,” the commentator exclaimed.

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The 31-year-old finished the match with 39 winners and 18 unforced errors. She secured a 2-6, 6-2, 6-1 victory in two hours and 13 minutes to book a spot in the quarter-finals, where she will face world No. 18 Elise Mertens.

“My fighting spirit brought me into the game,” Azarenka said.

“I started to pick up my game from there. I think it was the jump-start — my fighting spirit.

“(Krejcikova) started playing really well … I felt like she played really well the whole match, but she just played so loose. I didn’t necessarily feel I played bad, she was just one step ahead, and I felt like everything was kind of working. What helped me was kind of to understand that I had to change and adapt.

“I needed to adjust, find a new tactic, be more aggressive, come in a little bit more, and impose myself a bit more effectively.”

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Azarenka is hoping to secure her 22nd WTA singles title in Ostrava, having clinched her 21st during the Western & Southern Open earlier this year.

Meanwhile, top-seeded Elina Svitolina bowed out of the WTA tournament after losing to Maria Sakkari in straight sets.

World No. 23 Sakkari saw off Svitolina 6-3, 6-3 in an hour and 16 minutes to clinch a quarter-final spot.

“I think my groundstrokes worked really well, I was super solid from the baseline,” the Greek star told Czech Television after the match.

“And of course my serve helped me a lot.”

— with AFP



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Former AFL coach open to conversation over vacant North Melbourne job


Former AFL coach Gary Ayres says he would be open to having a conversation with North Melbourne about their vacant coaching position.

Rhyce Shaw and the Roos parted ways this week due to personal reasons, with the decision to take effect immediately.

Ayres, who has coached 223 games at AFL level for Geelong and Adelaide, has most recently been coaching Port Melbourne in the VFL.

When asked whether he’d be interested in making a long-awaited comeback at the highest level of the game, Ayres said he’d “certainty go down the path” if he was contacted about the role.

“You’d consider it,” he said on SEN’s Captain’s Run.

“You’d think after 25 years that I’m coaching better than I was when I first started.

“No doubt there are things that you’ve done which are about learning what you do within yourself as a coach, certainly we make mistakes but if you can keep hanging in there and keep doing what you love … I still have that passion for coaching.

“I love seeing the Port Melbourne boys going out there and getting some success at VFL level, it’s not the highest level, but it’s the highest level some of these boys are going to play at.

“You’d never say never, if the opportunity was there to have a chat, you’d certainty go down that path.

“But I think the old flickering flame has got less and less over the years in terms of interest along the way.”







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Federer pain-free and on track for Australian Open


October 21, 2020

(Reuters) – Roger Federer is practising pain-free after undergoing two knee surgeries this year and says he expects to return to the circuit at the Australian Open in January.

The 39-year-old Swiss reached the semi-finals at Melbourne Park at the start of the year but missed the rest of the season after undergoing a second arthroscopic procedure on his right knee.

“I’m on the right track,” the 20 times Grand Slam singles champion told German-language magazine Schweizer Illustrierte.

“I’m gradually coming back but I’m going to take my time and don’t want to put any pressure on myself. I will only take part in a tournament when I am 100% fit.

“At the moment, it looks like I can make my comeback at the Australian Open in January.”

While he has made significant progress in his recovery he says he is still not at the point where he can train as normal.

“Not yet, more than two hours with the racket are not possible at the moment,” said Federer, who is currently ranked fourth in the world and saw Rafa Nadal equal his Grand Slam haul with a 13th French Open title this month.

“But I’ve been working on my stamina and strength absolutely without pain for a while. There will be no further operations.”

Federer is often asked about his retirement plans but the Swiss said he would keep playing as long as he was enjoying it.

“I have been thinking about ideas for about five years,” he added. “But as long as I am having fun and it’s right for all of us, I’ll keep going.”

(Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; editing by Peter Rutherford)





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Victoria considers scaling back hotel quarantine, NSW Premier says border with Victoria could open within month; Australian death toll climbs to 905


The former Aer Lingus boss said reliable and affordable testing would be more accurate and alleviate the need to police quarantine, which in the UK is required at people’s homes but is barely enforced.

“We need to get the economy moving again, and this just isn’t possible when you are asking people to quarantine for 14 days,” he said.

“It is our view that even if that quarantine period is reduced to, say, seven days, people won’t travel here and the UK will get left behind.”

But he said there had been little interest among governments in establishing cost-effective testing or health passports.

British Airways has slashed flights to the United States to fewer than half the 30 destinations it once serviced. Flights between London and New York have been cut from 12 to two times per day, with fewer than 200 passengers making that transatlantic crossing daily.

Read the rest of this story here.



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Victoria considers scaling back hotel quarantine, NSW Premier says border with Victoria could open within month; Australian death toll climbs to 905


The former Aer Lingus boss said reliable and affordable testing would be more accurate and alleviate the need to police quarantine, which in the UK is required at people’s homes but is barely enforced.

“We need to get the economy moving again, and this just isn’t possible when you are asking people to quarantine for 14 days,” he said.

“It is our view that even if that quarantine period is reduced to, say, seven days, people won’t travel here and the UK will get left behind.”

But he said there had been little interest among governments in establishing cost-effective testing or health passports.

British Airways has slashed flights to the United States to fewer than half the 30 destinations it once serviced. Flights between London and New York have been cut from 12 to two times per day, with fewer than 200 passengers making that transatlantic crossing daily.

Read the rest of this story here.



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Tens of Thousands March in Belarus Despite Police Threat to Open Fire


Belarusian police on Sunday detained more than 200 people as tens of thousands marched against strongman Alexander Lukashenko in defiance of police threats to open fire after weeks of demonstrations.

Crowds of demonstrators waving red-and-white opposition flags descended on a gritty industrial neighbourhood in southeast Minsk for a march along Partisan Prospect, a key transport artery and home to a number of factories.

Protesters took to the streets despite threats by police this week to use lethal force from now on “if necessary.”

Some protesters chanted “Strike!” and “You and your riot police get out!”

Belarusian authorities deployed military trucks and water cannon but police largely refrained from using riot control equipment on Sunday.

Belarusian interior ministry spokeswoman Olga Chemodanova told AFP that members of law enforcement fired off rubber bullets as a warning to protesters who threw stones at police.

Chemodanova said that more than 200 people were arrested, most of them in Minsk. 

The ex-Soviet nation has been gripped by historic protests after Lukashenko claimed victory in August 9 elections over Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, a popular opposition candidate.

Protester Anzhela Krasovskaya said she was not afraid of authorities’ threats to use live ammunition.

“There’s no way back for us,” Krasovskaya told AFP. “If they start shooting then there would be even more people in the streets.” 

‘Unprecedented violence’

Pensioner Maria Petrovich said demonstrations would continue until Lukashenko quits.

“The level of violence perpetrated by the authorities is unprecedented,” she told AFP.

Phone networks were heavily disrupted, and mobile operator MTS Belarus said it had been ordered to limit access to “ensure national security”.

Tikhanovskaya, who was granted shelter in EU member Lithuania after the vote, has called on Lukashenko to quit power before October 25, warning he would otherwise face a crippling general strike.

Ahead of Sunday’s protest, the 38-year-old urged Belarusians to press ahead with their demands.

“We will stop only when every political prisoner walks free, when members of law enforcement begin to defend the people, and rule of law and honest elections return to Belarus,” Tikhanovskaya said.

‘Descendants of glorious warriors’

The Nexta Live channel on social-media platform Telegram, which has coordinated protesters, urged Belarusians to express solidarity with workers during the protest, dubbed the “March of Partisans.”

“We, descendants of glorious warriors and partisans, are worthy of our forefathers who already defeated fascism once,” the channel said in a message to its more than two million subscribers.

During World War II, Nazi-occupied Belarus had Europe’s largest partisan movement.

The protest movement has kept up a series of large-scale demonstrations for the past two months, with 100,000 people or more taking to the streets every Sunday.

Tikhanovskaya, who maintains she won the August polls, says Lukashenko must release political prisoners and halt “state terror.”

Several people have died and thousands have been arrested in a post-election crackdown, with harrowing accounts emerging of abuse in jails. Many said they had been tortured, beaten and humiliated in detention.

Ahead of Sunday’s march Ivan Tertel, head of the KGB security service, said provocations were being prepared to “destabilise the situation in our country.”

Many said they supported Tikhanovskaya’s call for a general strike, expressing hope that it could help end the current impasse.

“We have to push the situation forward,” said student Oleg Demyanenko. “Many of my friends are ready.”

Lukashenko, who has been in power for 26 years, has refused to step down and has secured backing from Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.

The European Union has refused to recognize the results of the disputed vote. Last week EU foreign ministers agreed to impose sanctions on Lukashenko as the bloc seeks to step up pressure over the crackdown on protesters.

A Norwegian MP said Sunday he had nominated Tikhanovskaya and her two opposition coalition partners for the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize for organizing the peaceful protests.

Geir Toskedal, of the Christian Democratic Party, told the Vart Land daily he had nominated Tikhanovskaya, Maria Kolesnikova and Veronika Tsepkalo “for their struggle for fair elections and for inspiring peaceful opposition against the illegitimate regime in Belarus.”

Kolesnikova is in jail, while Tsepkalo, like Tikhanovskaya, has left the country.



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Coronavirus Australia live news: Restrictions ease for Victorians, 5km rule scrapped, hairdressers open


Victoria wakes to eased restrictions with the 5-kilometre rule extended to 25km and up to 10 people from two homes now able to meet outdoors.

Golf, tennis and skateparks have been given the green light and hairdressers will open in Melbourne for the first time in two-and-a-half months.

However, Victoria’s Shadow Attorney-General Edward O’Donohue says many small businesses are disappointed they cannot re-open and have not been given any certainty about their future.

Follow today’s events as they unfold.

Live updates

By Nicholas McElroy

New coronavirus restrictions announced in Italy

 

Italy has announced new coronavirus restrictions in a bid to avoid a second national lockdown.

 

Local mayors have been given authority to impose 9:00pm curfews, and restrict evening dining. 

 

Gyms and public swimming pools have been given a week to put better safety measures in place.

 

Italy confirmed 11,700 cases of coronavirus in the last 24 hours, a record daily high
 

By Nicholas McElroy

Federal Government defends New Zealand travel bubble

 

 

New South Wales and the Northern Territory agreed to quarantine-free travel and New Zealand visitors began flying into Sydney last Friday.

 

But the premiers of Victoria and Western Australian have questioned why dozens of the New Zealand arrivals were then allowed to catch domestic flights.  

 

Deputy prime minister Michael McCormack says it should not have come as a surprise. 

  

“They, at the end of the day, have the jurisdictional responsibilities for their own State borders but they are also available to see the manifests of airlines,” he said.

 

“They have been since October 16, those manifests, those passenger logs have been made available to governments, to health ministers, to health officers, protocol officers in the various states and it has been discussed at National Cabinet ad nauseam.”

By Nicholas McElroy

Key Event

No new COVID-19 cases recorded in Queensland

   

Queensland’s Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young says no new coronavirus cases were recorded in the state overnight.

By Nicholas McElroy

By Nicholas McElroy

Victorian Government rejects criticism from Federal Government, business sector on eased restrictions

  

The Victorian Government has rejected criticism from the Federal Government and business sector about the easing of coronavirus restrictions.

   

Hairdressing salons and allied health services have re-opened, while non-essential external home maintenance has resumed. 

  

Public outdoor gatherings have increased to 10 from two households and the five kilometre travel limit has expanded to 25 kilometres.

  

But most retail and hospitality remain shut for now.

  

The Health Minister Martin Foley has told ABC Radio Melbourne, a careful and measured approach is crucial.

  

“We thank the Prime Minister, we thank the federal Health Minister for their partnerships to get us to the position we are but we have to take the careful expert advice based on the data that we have,” he said.

By Nicholas McElroy

What changes does Daniel Andrews expect from November?

    

For “Wondering not wandering”… looking at the story breaking down the steps outlined yesterday, the four reasons to leave home in Melbourne will not be lifted until 1/11 at this stage.

-Eagle Eye

    

Thanks Eagle Eye

  

Premier Daniel Andrews said this was among several changes he forecast for November 1: 

  

  • Scrapping the four reasons to leave your home and allowing people to go out for any reason

   

 

By Nicholas McElroy

You can exercise with up to 10 friends, as long as the group is made up of people from no more than two households

   

Dear N8cholas,How many friends can we exercise with now in our 25km bubble.?I enjoy this blog, I think your news is fair and often very funny. What happens when we have no more restrictions will the blog stop? I would miss you all😋

-Happy 25km bubble person

  

This is what the DHHS says:  

   

  • You can exercise in a group of up to ten people from a maximum of two households outdoors in a public place (personal training is limited to two people plus the trainer). This replaces the limit of five people from a maximum of two households.

 

By Nicholas McElroy

Key Event

Victoria records four new cases, one death

  

Victoria has recorded four new cases of coronavirus and one death in the past 24 hours.

    
The state’s death toll is now 817.

   
Melbourne’s 14-day average of new cases has dropped to 7.2, while in regional Victoria it’s 0.5.

  
The number of cases in Melbourne with an unknown source is stable at 15. 

By Nicholas McElroy

A taste of how some of you are feeling as restrictions ease

    

It’s the simple pleasures:  

   

Today we grabbed breakfast and coffee from a favourite cafe 6km from home. It’s a good day.

-The small things

     

Melburnians are rockstars: 

    

Good morning Nick!I hope you and everyone else in Melbourne are well today. What a great day today is!I’ve not made use of my new freedoms yet, however I feel good just knowing I can. A massive shout out to my fellow Melburnians for getting through these last few difficult months. You’re all ROCKSTARS! Stay safe and well everyone xx

-So flippin happy!

       

For some, the easing of restrictions has offered little relief: 

    

I think calling it exciting times is a bit over the top. Nothing much has changed for many thousands of Victorians, especially those that still cant get back to work. So the rope has been extended a little, but we are still tied up.

-False Freedom

I went to bed feeling aweful after yesterdays announcements and its no better this morning. The 25km restriction is still a significant infringement on our freedoms and lives for so many of us. Really feel for Dagmar’s situation. This is no longer proportionate given the case numbers and Andrews should give a clear point from which the restriction will be scrapped in its entirety, instead of backtracking on his roadmap. We’ve earned and need this. Its now come to the point of comparisons with the Berlin wall. If ever there was a sign it has gone to far this would be it. Hang in there Dagmar.

-Dagmar

By Nicholas McElroy

By Nicholas McElroy

From 5km to 25km 

  

Good morning! And it really is! Looking fwd to bursting my 5km bubble, but can’t seem to find whether we’re still restricted in the reasons we can leave home – medical/caregiving, buying food & supplies, exercise, work/study. Has this been detailed anywhere? Thanks for the blog, it’s been my lifeline this year!

-Wondering not wandering

 

Good morning! This is what the Victorian DHHS has to say about your question: 

     

“You can now travel up to 25 km from your home or permitted workplace within metropolitan Melbourne. This replaces the 5km rule. Travel to regional Victoria is still only allowed for permitted purposes even if this is within 25 kms. This means you cannot travel into regional Victoria for exercise or recreation.”

   

“You can leave home for any period of time to exercise or see friends and family outdoors. This replaces the two hour limit on these activities. There are no limits on the number of times you can leave home.”

By Nicholas McElroy

Dagmar lost her husband during lockdown. Melbourne’s 25km limit means she still can’t see her family

ABC News

  

By Elise Kinsella

 

For Dagmar Limp, Melbourne’s new travel restrictions mean she can now travel to her favourite butcher, but still can’t see her daughter.

  
The 77-year-old lives in Warburton in the Yarra Ranges, and lost her husband Klaus two months ago, during Melbourne’s second lockdown.

 
She hasn’t been able to see one of her daughters, who lives in St Kilda, since her husband’s death because of the rule preventing Melburnians from travelling more than 5 kilometres from their homes.

 
“For some people I guess 25km will make a difference, but if you are this far out as I am in Warburton, well then it is no use to me at all,” she said.

By Nicholas McElroy

Midnight hair cuts and early morning tee times 

   

Melburnians have wasted no time making use of their new freedoms, after coronavirus restrictions were eased yesterday.

   

Restrictions preventing people from going to the hairdresser, or playing golf and tennis, were lifted at midnight.

  

The 5km travel restriction was also extended to 25km, giving people more freedom to travel out of their suburbs.

 

South Yarra hairdresser Joey Scandizzo opened his business at midnight.

 

“The phones have been going crazy so we’ve been trying to get everybody we can in,” he said.

 

“As soon as the clock struck 12 we were in here, we got them all done.”

 

Some keen golfers turned up early this morning to a golf club in North Balwyn hoping to be first on the course, only to find that the club did not yet have council approval to reopen.

By Nicholas McElroy

Need a more concise refresher on restrictions in Victoria?

  

This is the link you’re looking for: 

 

 

By Nicholas McElroy

Here is the link to Sunday’s live blog

   

Want to catch up on how we got here? 

  

  

Enjoy. 

By Nicholas McElroy

By Nicholas McElroy

Good morning

  

Welcome to the ABC’s Coronavirus live blog for Monday October 19. 

    

It’s an exciting day for Victorians with restrictions easing across the state. 

   

Do you have something to say about it? Got any burning questions? Use the blue button at the top of the page that says ‘Leave a comment’ and we will get to as many as we can.

  



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Trump lobbies Wisconsin, Michigan to open up; NFL marches on




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