NFL

Rodgers ruled out of blockbuster clash with Mahomes after positive COVID test

By Sports Desk November 03, 2021

Aaron Rodgers has been ruled out of the Green Bay Packers' clash with the Kansas City Chiefs after testing positive for COVID-19.

NFL Media's Tom Pelissero reported Rodgers had returned a positive test, meaning he will not go head to head with Kansas City Chiefs superstar Patrick Mahomes in a blockbuster quarterback matchup.

Instead, Rodgers' backup and heir apparent Jordan Love, controversially drafted in the first round in 2020, will get the start for the 7-1 Packers.

Rodgers, according to NFL Media's Ian Rapoport and Mike Garafolo, is not vaccinated against coronavirus, meaning he is out for a minimum of 10 days. Asked about his vaccination status back in August, Rodgers said he was "immunised".

The news comes after the Packers prevailed in their Week 8 matchup with the Arizona Cardinals despite COVID issues that meant they did not have the services of wide receivers Davante Adams and Allen Lazard as well as defensive coordinator Joe Barry.

Now the onus is on Love to prevail against the odds in his first start on the road at Arrowhead Stadium.

In Love's favour is the form of the Chiefs' defense, which is giving up a league-high 6.43 yards per play.

Mahomes and the Chiefs have also struggled mightily on offense by their usual high standards. He has thrown a league-leading 10 interceptions and was unconvincing in Monday's 20-17 win over the New York Giants that saw the Chiefs improve to 4-4.

Rodgers is still yet to face Mahomes, the 2018 MVP and MVP of Super Bowl LIV, in his storied NFL career.

Three-time MVP Rodgers and the Packers last faced the Chiefs in 2019, but Mahomes was sidelined with a knee injury. Green Bay prevailed 31-24.

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  • Australian Open: Tsitsipas cruises past Sinner to reach semis Australian Open: Tsitsipas cruises past Sinner to reach semis

    Stefanos Tsitsipas produced a strong performance to brush aside Jannik Sinner and move into his third Australian Open semi-final.

    Tsitsipas outclassed the talented 20-year-old from Italy with an impressive 6-3 6-4 6-2 victory on Rod Laver Arena on Wednesday.

    The Greek fourth seed broke early in each set on his way to a third win in four meetings with 11th seed Sinner, who was playing his second grand slam quarter-final.

    Not even a brief rain delay that led to the roof being closed early in the second set could slow Tsitsipas, who delivered his best performance of the tournament so far.

    Tsitsipas will face either Daniil Medvedev or Felix Auger-Aliassime in the semi-finals.

    Tsitsipas made an impressive start, landing an early break following a pair of forehand errors from Sinner, moving into a 3-0 lead.

    Spurred on by a contingent of singing Greek fans, Tsitsipas closed out the opening set, set up by his fast start.

    Tsitsipas created another opportunity for an early break in the second set after firing a backhand winner down the line at 30-30 in the third game.

    Sinner was unable to deny the Greek star, a backhand cross-court flying wide to hand Tsitsipas the upper-hand.

    Not even an unexpected rain delay on a hot and humid day in Melbourne could disrupt Tsitsipas' momentum, with the roof closed after the third game.

    Like the first set, there was little pressure on either player's service games, but Tsitsipas' single break was again enough for him to take a two-sets-to-love lead.

    A brilliant backhand pass down the line set up break points in the third game of the third set for Tsitsipas, converted when Sinner sent a forehand into the net.

    Tsitsipas broke again to take a 4-1 lead on his way to a convincing victory and the semi-finals, starting to find the form to suggest he could be a threat for the title in Melbourne.

     

    DATA SLAM: Tsitsipas stays perfect in major quarter-finals

    The quarter-finals have proven to be no hurdle for Tsitsipas.

    He improved to 5-0 in grand slam quarters, including 3-0 at Melbourne Park. Tsitsipas is playing his fifth Australian Open main draw and has reached the semis three times.

    WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
    Tsitsipas – 30/28
    Sinner – 18/22

    ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
    Tsitsipas – 4/2
    Sinner – 4/1

    BREAK POINTS WON
    Tsitsipas – 4/4
    Sinner – 0/0

  • Australian Open: Cornet 'felt out of breath all the time' in Collins loss Australian Open: Cornet 'felt out of breath all the time' in Collins loss

    Alize Cornet "felt out of breath all the time" during her Australian Open quarter-final loss to Danielle Collins.

    Collins was too good for Cornet in a 7-5 6-1 victory on Rod Laver Arena on Wednesday, reaching her second Australian Open semi-final in four years.

    The American 27th seed hit 28 winners and 29 unforced errors in a strong performance against Cornet, who was playing her maiden major quarter-final.

    Cornet said Collins, who will face Iga Swiatek in the last four, never allowed her to settle at Melbourne Park.

    "Well, she's very powerful, even more than what I expected. Her ball is going really fast in the air and she takes the ball super early," the Frenchwoman said.

    "All the time you feel really oppressed. I felt out of breath all the time. I couldn't, like, place my game. She just never let me do it, never gave me the time to do it. Yeah, she's impressive.

    "But today she was pretty quiet. She didn't scream that much. When I see her playing on TV, sometimes she's yelling, 'C'mon.' She looks like a lion.

    "Today I don't think I gave her enough battle so she could express herself."

    Collins was playing her first quarter-final since the 2020 French Open and dictated from the outset against Cornet.

    The 28-year-old hopes her experience in the latter stages of tournaments helps her late in the Australian Open.

    "Yeah, I think now that I've made quarter-finals at French and semi-finals here before, I think I can use those experiences to certainly help me in the tight-pressure moments on court. I can use that to my advantage," Collins said.

    "Last time I was here in the semi-finals I had never done that before. I've made some deeper runs in tournaments since then. Hopefully I can carry the confidence that I've gained over the last couple years and be able to use that to my advantage."

  • Australian Open: Swiatek seals semi-final spot after lengthy Kanepi battle Australian Open: Swiatek seals semi-final spot after lengthy Kanepi battle

    Iga Swiatek came through a huge battle against Kaia Kanepi to advance to the Australian Open semi-finals on Wednesday.

    Swiatek, the Polish seventh seed, made her second grand slam semi after a 4-6 7-6 (7-2) 6-3 victory over Kanepi on a warm day on Rod Laver Arena.

    The 2020 French Open champion held off Kanepi, who suffered a seventh defeat in as many grand slam quarter-finals.

    Swiatek fought hard and needed three hours, one minute to progress to a meeting with American 27th seed Danielle Collins.

    The steadier start was made by Swiatek, with Kanepi saving break points in each of her opening three service games.

    But the Pole was having some trouble with her serve, a fifth double fault giving Kanepi a break point in the seventh game, the Estonian converting with a fine forehand return winner.

    Swiatek held after a gruelling 16-minute ninth game, saving four set points as the Rod Laver Arena crowd started to come to life.

    Kanepi had won only one set in her six previous grand slam quarter-finals, but she eventually served out the opener against Swiatek, converting her ninth set point.

    After Kanepi broke in the opening game of the second set, Swiatek – who was starting to move the veteran around the court – reeled off four straight games.

    However, Kanepi responded, a pair of Swiatek double faults helping her break back in the seventh game on the way to a tie-break.

    Swiatek was the more consistent of the two players in the tie-break to send the quarter-final into a deciding set.

    After the players traded breaks early in the third set, Swiatek took a 3-2 lead after Kanepi sent a forehand narrowly wide before managing a tough hold in the sixth game.

    Swiatek charged into a 5-2 lead and while her attempt at serving it out did not go to plan, she sealed her win with another break after a tremendous defensive point.

     

    DATA SLAM: Swiatek hard to beat at majors

    It takes a fair bit to beat Swiatek at a grand slam.

    The 20-year-old is now 30-2 at majors against opponents ranked outside the top 30 after getting past world number 115 Kanepi.

    WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
    Swiatek – 31/50
    Kanepi – 35/62

    ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
    Swiatek – 5/12
    Kanepi – 5/4

    BREAK POINTS WON
    Swiatek – 6/13
    Kanepi – 5/13

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