Tiger Woods hopes to be fit to play the Masters again this year but the 15-time major champion is not taking anything for granted following his latest back surgery.

Woods' long-standing back issue has required five procedures, most recently a microdiscectomy in December to alleviate nerve pain.

The 45-year-old has had a mixed record with managing the injury in recent years.

Woods claimed a long-awaited fifth green jacket at Augusta National in 2019 but has missed the cut at three of the six majors since then.

He now faces a race simply to enter the Masters in 2021, which begins on April 8.

"I'm feeling fine, a little stiff," Woods, a host at PGA Tour event the Genesis Invitational, told CBS on Sunday. "I've got one more MRI scheduled and then I can start doing more activities.

"I'm still in the gym doing rehab activities before gravitating towards more."

Woods was asked specifically about appearing at Augusta but, given his repeated problems with his back, he appears unwilling to take any risks.

"God, I hope so," he said of playing. "But I've got to get there first. I don't have much wiggle room left. I've got only one back."

Woods has played only three events this season, most recently the 2020 Masters, delayed until last November due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Then the defending champion, Woods finished in a tie for 38th.

Novak Djokovic believes he silenced his critics by triumphing at the Australian Open after finishing the tournament with a torn oblique muscle. 

Djokovic clinched a record-extending ninth Australian Open title and 18th major overall with a 7-5 6-2 6-2 thrashing of Russian fourth seed Daniil Medvedev on Sunday. 

The Serbian faced criticism before the tournament over a list of requests for players who were in quarantine due to coronavirus, while also being questioned over the severity of the oblique injury suffered during a third-round win over Taylor Fritz. 

Djokovic felt the backlash was unfair, but believes he answered in the best way possible by winning the title in Melbourne again. 

"Of course, it's not nice to hear that. I mean, it also seems unfair from some people that kind of criticise and judge without really checking before," the world number one told a news conference. 

"But as I said, it's not really the first time. I have so much experience with this because it happened so many times in my life, in my career, that I experience that. It will probably not be the last one. 

"Look, at the end of the day everyone who has the stage has the right to say what they want to say. It's a matter on my side whether I'm going to react or not, in which way I'm going to react. I didn't allow it to hinder my performance. I think winning the trophy is in a way my answer."

After taking a two-sets-to-love lead against Fritz, Djokovic suffered the oblique injury. He was forced to a decider by the American before eventually managing to advance. 

Djokovic said afterwards he had torn a muscle and may need to pull out of the tournament, although was unwilling to give too much away as the event went on. 

The 33-year-old, though, said after his win on Sunday that he had torn his abdominal oblique muscle. 

"It is a tear, a muscle tear, of the abdominal oblique muscle. I felt it right away when it happened against Fritz in the third round. That's what I said in the post-match interview. I was kind of guessing, but I felt just that it's a tear because of the snap and the way I felt after that," Djokovic said. 

"I know there's been a lot of speculation, people questioning whether I'm injured, how can I recover so quickly, it's impossible to do that. I get it. I mean, look, everyone is entitled for their own opinion, and everybody has the freedom and the right to say what they want, criticise others. I just felt like it was a bit unfair at times. But, hey, it's not the first nor the last time. 

"What we have done in the past nine, 10 days, you'll get a chance to see in detail probably at the end of this year when the documentary comes out.   

"I've been filming a lot of things that I've been doing here, but also in the previous months, six months. We're planning to take that documentary out end of this year. You will be able to see more of the routine of recovery, stuff that was going on behind the curtain."

Julien Marchand and Arthur Vincent have become the latest France players to test positive for coronavirus.

The French Rugby Federation (FFR) announced Toulouse hooker Marchand and Montpellier centre Vincent had been omitted from the 31-man squad to face Scotland next weekend.

It takes the overall number of COVID-19 cases from the Six Nations leaders' camp to nine, with prop Mohamed Haouas, wing Gabin Villiere and scrum-half Antoine Dupont also sidelined.

Head coach Fabien Galthie, assistant Karim Ghezal, forwards coach William Servat and another unnamed member of support staff have also tested positive.

As a result, there are six new additions to the squad as Les Bleus aim to make it three wins out of three.

Racing 92 hooker Teddy Baubigny fills the void left by Marchand, with Demba Bamba offering cover at prop.

Maxime Lucu comes in as another option at scrum-half, while centres Yoram Moefana and Jonathan Danty, along with Baubigny's club-mate Donovan Taofifenua, bolster the depleted backs.

Daniil Medvedev entered the Australian Open final in red-hot form and with a strong recent record against Novak Djokovic – yet he still fell well short.

Djokovic's record-extending ninth Australian Open title and 18th major overall came in comprehensive fashion with a 7-5 6-2 6-2 thrashing of Medvedev at the Rod Laver Arena on Sunday.

Medvedev was on a 20-match winning streak that included 12 victories over top-10 players, including Djokovic - who he had beaten in three of their previous four meetings. Still, the Russian was still dismantled.

Djokovic and Rafael Nadal have now won 10 of the past 11 grand slams. The other was Dominic Thiem's success last year at the US Open, where Djokovic stunningly defaulted in the fourth round and Nadal and Roger Federer were absent.

The 'Big Four' became the 'Big Three' following Andy Murray's injury woes, and that may now be the 'Big Two'.

Federer shares the men's grand slam record with Nadal on 20, but the last of those for the Swiss great came in 2018 and the 39-year-old has missed the past three majors.

Djokovic, 33, and Nadal, 34, have shown few signs of slowing down. With the Serbian dominating in Melbourne and the Spaniard continuing to own Roland Garros, they seem to have at least one grand slam each locked away every year.

After his loss on Sunday, Medvedev said of the trio of greats: "Nothing else to say than they are undoubtedly, I don't think anyone can argue with this, the three biggest names in tennis history. I'm talking only about results. I'm not talking off court, game. I'm talking about results. What they did in tennis is unbelievable for me.

"I'm 25 now. To win nine Australian Opens, I need to win every year until I'm 34. I mean, I believe in myself, but I don't think I'm able to do it. Same with Rafa. I mean, 13 Roland Garros... We're talking about some cyborgs of tennis in a good way. They're just unbelievable.

"When I'm out there, I'm not thinking, 'Okay, they are too strong for me.' I always want to win. I beat some of them in some big tournaments, like London [the ATP Finals] for example. I just need to be better next time in the grand slam finals against these two guys or Roger."

Thiem took his chance and landed a major at Flushing Meadows, while he has shaped as the most likely successor to Nadal in Paris, where he lost finals in 2018 and 2019. Medvedev has found his rhythm and Sunday's defeat was his second in a major decider.

Stefanos Tsitsipas, 2020 US Open runner-up Alexander Zverev, Andrey Rublev and Matteo Berrettini look like potential threats, while Canadian pair Denis Shapovalov, 21, and Felix Auger-Aliassime, 20, continue improving.

But Medvedev looked more than capable of ending Djokovic's incredible record in Melbourne before falling well short, showing potential challengers they still have a way to go if they are to finally stop the all-time greats.

Daniil Medvedev rued a below-par performance after his Australian Open final loss to Novak Djokovic.

In his second grand slam decider, Medvedev was well beaten 7-5 6-2 6-2 by Djokovic on Rod Laver Arena on Sunday, seeing his 20-match winning streak ended.

Medvedev had his chances against the world number one, but Djokovic stepped up in key moments to win a record-extending ninth Australian Open title.

The Russian fourth seed felt his performance was average in the final as he mixed 24 winners with 30 unforced errors.

"I don't like to lose matches. Doesn't matter if it's a first round or a final of a grand slam. Of course, it's just that feeling that you're closer to hold the trophy than when you lose the first round," Medvedev told a news conference.

"Talking about the match, it's tough, just when you lost to reconsider straightaway. But I feel like it's the kind of matches I won throughout this tournament that he won today.

" I was there in the first set, I was up a break in the second, but in the end I lost in three sets where I didn't play bad but I didn't play my best level. Probably he made his game that good today that I couldn't stay at my best level.

"Yeah, I obviously thought about [Andrey] Rublev and [Stefanos] Tsitsipas, both amazing top-10 players, and I won with a similar score where they were playing good, but I felt like I was better. So today was the case for Novak.

"I cannot say much better than this. He was better than me today. I could have done things for sure better today, but I didn't manage to. That's why I don't have the trophy."

Medvedev recovered from 3-0 down to draw level in the first set before being broken in the 12th game, while he gave up a break lead in the second.

The 25-year-old was unsure whether his performance was down to a bad day, or Djokovic's display.

"That's where it's tough to say because I don't know 100 per cent. I feel like I for sure could have played better. Especially looking at the matches where I played him," Medvedev said.

"At the same time there is always a question maybe he was not that good the other matches I played him because it's always day by day. You know the question is how did he manage to win here nine times out of nine? Probably all the nine times he was better than his opponent.

"I don't have an answer to this question. He definitely was good. I definitely could have done better. But even if I would have done better, doesn't mean that the score would be different.

"Today we have this score. I'm the loser; he's the winner. That's the point."

Daniil Medvedev was gracious in defeat to an inspired Novak Djokovic at the Australian Open final on Sunday.

A contest billed as a potential classic was over in one hour and 53 minutes as Djokovic claimed a ninth title in Melbourne and 18th career major.

The world number one, who lost to Medvedev at the ATP Finals last year, triumphed 7-5 6-2 6-2 to extend his record to nine victories and zero defeats in the final of this tournament and close to within two grand slams of Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.

Medvedev was disappointed he could not prolong the contest but had nothing but praise for Djokovic on and off the court, a player he described as "a god to me".

The Russian said: "I first practiced with Novak when I was like 500 or 600 in the world in Monaco and he was already number one, he'd just won Wimbledon. I thought, 'There's no way he's gonna speak to me.' The guy was a god to me.

"I was really shy. He was talking to me like I was a friend. He's never changed, whether I'm 600 in the world or four in the world, he's always been a great sport and a great friend.

"I really wanted to make this match longer and more entertaining for you. Today was not the day."

Djokovic was similarly full of praise for Medvedev, who had been on a 20-match winning streak heading into the final.

The Serbian fully expects Medvedev to become a major winner in future, although he hopes to add a few more to his collection first.

"You're a class act, a great guy," Djokovic said. "We used to spend more time together. You're not calling me any more in the last few years! But it's nice you're thinking good things about me.

"I really like Daniil off the court, but on the court, he's definitely one of the toughest players I faced in my life. It's a matter of time before you're holding a grand slam, for sure, if you don't mind waiting a few years!"

After a difficult build-up to the tournament, in which Djokovic lobbied for an easing of certain restrictions on players forced to quarantine in hotels after arriving in Australia, he credited authorities for ensuring a smooth running of events in Melbourne.

"There are a lot mixed feelings about what happened in the last month or so, but I think in the end it was a successful tournament for everyone," he said.

"It wasn't easy, it was very challenging on many different levels, but they [Tennis Australia] should be proud of themselves for what they put together and allowing us to come to Australia.

"I'd like to thank the Rod Laver Arena. I love you each year more and more. The love affair keeps going."

Novak Djokovic continued his dominance of the Australian Open, winning the grand slam for a record ninth time on Sunday.

The Serbian star claimed his 18th grand slam crown with a 7-5 6-2 6-2 dismantling of Russian fourth seed Daniil Medvedev in the final.

Djokovic became just the second man to win a major at least nine times, with only Rafael Nadal (13 French Open titles) also managing that feat.

We take a look back at all of his Australian Open successes.

2008 – A maiden grand slam title

Aged 20, this was Djokovic's fourth main-draw appearance in Melbourne and his previous best had been the fourth round the year prior.

But he produced a flying run to the final, beating Lleyton Hewitt in straight sets in the last 16 and top seed Federer in the semis.

Djokovic, the third seed, was left with a surprise opponent in the final and he made the most of his chance, coming from a set down to beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

It was the first grand slam since the 2005 Australian Open not won by either Federer or Nadal.

2011 – The beginning of complete Melbourne dominance

Djokovic had to wait three years for his second title in Melbourne, but it started a wonderful run of dominance.

He was largely untouchable again on his way to the final, including wins over top-10 seeds Tomas Berdych and Federer.

Djokovic crushed Andy Murray 6-4 6-2 6-3 in the decider to win the first of an incredible three grand slams in 2011.

 

2012 – Coming through two epics

This would be a major best remembered for two matches – Djokovic's semi and final.

He took almost five hours to get past Murray in the last four in a match that seemed certain to ruin his chances in the decider.

Somehow, Djokovic came through that too, beating Nadal 5-7 6-4 6-2 6-7 (5-7) 7-5 in the longest Open Era grand slam final, which went for a gruelling five hours, 53 minutes.

2013 – Hat-trick complete

Djokovic extended his winning streak at the Australian Open to 21 matches with a third straight title.

He became the first man in the Open Era to win a hat-trick of titles in Melbourne.

Djokovic took five hours to get past Stan Wawrinka – the man who would break his run the following year – in the fourth round before again beating Murray in a final.

 

2015 – Another Wawrinka marathon, another Murray final

Fernando Verdasco and Milos Raonic were unable to stop Djokovic and, this time, Wawrinka failed too.

Djokovic beat the Swiss star in a five-set semi-final before a familiar face stood between him and another title.

Murray managed to split the first two sets, but Djokovic ran away with it from there 6-3 6-0 for a fifth crown.

2016 ­– Record equalled after Simon scare

It was the fourth round that proved to be the biggest scare in Djokovic's bid for a record-equalling sixth Australian Open title.

But he got through another gruelling five-setter, this time against French 14th seed Gilles Simon.

Kei Nishikori, Federer and Murray were unable to stop him from there as Djokovic joined Roy Emerson on six Australian Open crowns.
 

2019 – Record claimed in flawless fashion

For a six-time champion and the world number one, this seemed like a quiet run by Djokovic.

He dispatched of up-and-comers Denis Shapovalov and Daniil Medvedev, spent less than an hour on court with an exhausted Nishikori and was almost flawless against Lucas Pouille.

Only Nadal stood between him and a record seventh Australian Open title in a repeat of their epic 2012 final.

And Djokovic may have saved his best performance for the final, dismantling Nadal in just over two hours.

2020 – Thiem test survived to close in on Federer, Nadal

Djokovic entered the tournament on the back of six impressive singles wins at the ATP Cup.

After a brief first-round hiccup against Jan-Lennard Struff, Djokovic cruised into the quarter-finals.

He continued his dominance of Milos Raonic with a 10th win in as many meetings with the Canadian and then brushed a hurt Federer aside.

Thiem, playing his third major final, was a huge test, but Djokovic survived after almost four hours to extend his record in Melbourne. It was his 17th major title, moving closer to the tallies of Federer (20) and Nadal (19), as he reclaimed the number one ranking.

2021 – Injury threatens run before powerful finish

It was a largely uneventful start for Djokovic before suffering a suspected abdominal injury in the third round against Taylor Fritz.

He looked at risk of defeat despite taking the first two sets as Fritz fought back, but Djokovic looked healthy again in the fifth to win through.

Djokovic beat Raonic for the 12th straight time and then overcame Alexander Zverev, before finding good form in a semi-final thrashing of qualifier Aslan Karatsev.

He dropped five sets in his opening six matches, the most he has lost prior to the final in the 28 occasions he has made the decider at a slam.

Medvedev was on a 20-match winning streak heading into the final, but Djokovic stepped up on the court he loves.

Mexican super-featherweight boxer Miguel Berchelt has been released from hospital following his vicious knockout at the hands of Oscar Valdez.

Promoters Top Rank confirmed the 29-year-old's CT scan had come back clear, allaying fears after Berchelt lost his WBC belt in brutal fashion.

Valdez dethroned his compatriot at the MGM Grand on Saturday, flooring Berchelt with devastating left hook in the final second of the 10th round.

Having knocked down Berchelt twice earlier in the fight, Valdez finally landed the decisive blow to leave his opponent lying unconscious on the canvas for a few tense moments in Las Vegas.

Top Rank posted a picture of the pair in the ring after the fight showing a groggy Berchelt sat on a stool with Valdez kneeling in front of him, the two touching gloves.

The caption read: "In the end, the respect between these two was at the core of what made this fight so special."

It added: "Per reports from the hospital, Miguel Berchelt's CT scan was clear, and he has been released."

Novak Djokovic secured his 18th grand slam title with a resounding straight-sets win over Daniil Medvedev in the Australian Open final on Sunday.

The Serbian star closed to within two major crowns of men's record holders Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal after impressively beating Medvedev 7-5 6-2 6-2 in one hour, 53 minutes in cool conditions on Rod Laver Arena.

Djokovic, who suffered a suspected abdominal injury earlier in the tournament, showed just why he is the king of Melbourne, where he clinched a record-extending ninth Australian Open title.

The world number one produced a classic display of returning and again stepped up in key moments, in contrast to Medvedev.

Carrying a 20-match winning streak into the decider, Medvedev – playing his second grand slam final – made errors at important stages despite holding his own from the baseline for large parts against an opponent he had beaten in three of their previous four meetings.

Medvedev made a nervous and wayward start and was broken in the second game, but he quickly responded, pulling the break back in the fifth game, one marked by a grinding baseline exchange at 15-30 before Djokovic put an overhead into the net.

Both players held with relative comfort until Djokovic landed the key blow to take the first set, the Serbian fans in Rod Laver Arena rising to their feet after Medvedev sent a forehand into the net.

The pair traded breaks again to begin the second set, this time Djokovic recovering from dropping serve, and he won four straight games after Medvedev faltered in a sloppy fourth game.

Djokovic produced a tough hold for 5-2, a moment that led to an increasingly frustrated Medvedev – struggling to come up with answers – to smash his racquet at the back of the court before losing the second set.

Medvedev squandered another chance as Djokovic dug himself out of a 15-40 hole in the opening game of the third set and then broke, the Russian netting a volley after a wild double fault.

In yet another key moment, Djokovic held from 15-30 in the seventh game in front of a crowd baying for more tennis, before going on to see out his historic success.

 

Data Slam: History for the king of Melbourne

Djokovic's ninth Australian Open title saw him become just the second man to win a major at least nine times. He joined Nadal, who has owned the French Open with 13 titles. That pair have won 10 of the past 11 grand slam crowns, as the 'Big Three', or 'Big Two', continue their dominance.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
Djokovic – 20/17
Medvedev – 24/30

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
Djokovic – 3/2
Medvedev – 6/4

BREAK POINTS WON
Djokovic – 7/11
Medvedev – 2/4

LeBron James believes he needs to adjust in the absence of Anthony Davis because his Los Angeles Lakers team-mates are already doing "their part and more".

The Lakers have gone 2-1 since Davis sustained a calf injury in the defeat to the Denver Nuggets last weekend, going down 96-94 to the Miami Heat on Saturday after a loss to the Brooklyn Nets.

The reigning NBA champions sit third in the Western Conference but will be without Davis for the next four weeks.

James had 19 points, nine rebounds and nine assists against the Heat, while a steal on an inbounds pass for Jimmy Butler gave Alex Caruso a chance to tie the game at the buzzer but the Lakers guard missed.

By scoring at least 15 points with a minimum of five rebounds and five assists for a 31st straight game, James broke the previous NBA record of 30 in succession that he set in 2018.

However, he insisted it is on him to adapt and help get the Lakers back on track ahead of a tough stretch without Davis, who leads the Lakers in rebounds, steals and blocks.

"I think that's what it all boils down to and right now is another challenge for me, to be able to adjust," James said.

"Not having AD for a long period of time is something that we haven't had over the last year and a half, and now it's time for me to adjust again and see ways I can be even more effective to help this team win ballgames, because that is the sport that we're in.

"We're in the winning business and I've always been a winner. So, it's time to click into that."

On his team-mates, he added: "They are doing their part. They're doing their part and more. Every time we're on the floor we're trying to protect each other and bring each other up on the floor every single night.

"It doesn't matter if you're making shots or not, we're gonna hold each other accountable. Everybody's picking up in AD's absence and obviously it hasn't been in wins the last two games but we're gonna continue working our habits and continue to be great for one another."

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope contributed 11 points on 3-of-5 shooting from beyond the arc and called on his fellow role players at the Lakers to provide James with greater support.

"I feel like the last couple games that's been happening, putting a lot on Bron. We already know what we're going to get out of him. So, all the rest of us, we've got to continue to just play hard and just play basketball and not worry about anything else," said Caldwell-Pope.

"We try to help him out as much as possible and we want to do it as perfect as possible, as we can.

"We try to help him out, we try not to make too much mistakes when we're on the floor with him or even running a play with him, just to give him some help. We do ask Bron for a lot, he gives us a lot each and every game.

"It's up to us as far as like role players and 'next man up' mentality, we've got to be ready and locked in."

Naomi Osaka may be a two-time Australian Open champion but the relaxed four-time major winner still feels unrecognised when she walks the streets of Melbourne, insisting she is not like Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James.

Osaka became the first woman since Monica Seles in the early 1990s to emerge victorious from the first four grand slam finals of her career after outclassing Jennifer Brady 6-4 6-3 in Saturday's Australian Open final.

Former world number one Osaka – who fended off a pair of match points against Garbine Muguruza in the last 16 at Melbourne Park – also became the seventh woman to have won the Australian Open after saving match point, following in the footsteps of Seles (1991), Jennifer Capriati (2002), Serena Williams (2003 and 2005), Li Na (2014), Angelique Kerber (2016) and Caroline Wozniacki (2018).

The 23-year-old won in 77 minutes to become the 12th woman in the Open Era to clinch multiple Australian Open titles. 

Osaka has now gone 21 matches without defeat – she is only the third woman since 2010 to enjoy an unbeaten streak of 20 or more matches, joining Serena (27 wins between 2014 WTA Finals and 2015 Madrid) and Azarenka (26 wins between 2012 Sydney and Miami).

Reflecting on her triumph during Sunday's celebratory photoshoot, the Japanese star told reporters: "I think the quarantine affected me in the way that I had to go within myself a lot.

"Your sort of in a room by yourself and your forced to face your own thoughts. For me, I think in the end that was a good thing because there were a lot of things that I meditated on and I thought about and I think coming here really helped me because it made me a bit more confident in my thoughts and my opinions.

"I don't really feel recognised unless it's moments like this. For me, I just like walking by myself outside. I think in a way that I'm kind of lucky because I'm not like a LeBron James or anything like that, that would get recognised everywhere. I'm pretty chill, like it's kind of good."

Osaka is yet to taste success at Wimbledon and the French Open, and she added: "For me, I think that's the biggest goal right now [win Wimbledon or French Open]. I think everyone knows that I can do well on hardcourt, but for me, I just want to get comfortable on the other surfaces."

The Miami Heat edged NBA champions the Los Angeles Lakers 96-94 on Saturday.

In a rematch of last season's NBA Finals, which LeBron James and the Lakers won, the Heat came out on top in Los Angeles.

The Heat led by as many as 10 points in the fourth quarter before the Lakers rallied, but Miami held on at Staples Center.

Kendrick Nunn (27 points) and Jimmy Butler (24 points, eight rebounds, five assists and two steals) fuelled the Heat on the road.

James led the slumping Lakers – who have lost back-to-back games – with a team-high 23 points.

 

CP3 surpasses Robertson as Suns set franchise record

It was a memorable day for Chris Paul and the Phoenix Suns, who routed the Memphis Grizzlies 128-97. Paul passed Oscar Robertson for sixth place on the all-time assists list. Robertson had 9,887 assists. The Suns, meanwhile, nailed a franchise-record 24 three-pointers.

Zach LaVine's 38 points inspired the Chicago Bulls to a 122-114 victory over the Sacramento Kings. LaVine made 15 of 20 shots in his fourth consecutive game with 30 or more points.

Russell Westbrook (27 points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds) and Bradley Beal (37 points) teamed up to guide the Washington Wizards to an 118-111 victory at the Portland Trail Blazers, who had their six-game winning streak snapped. Damian Lillard's 35 points and 12 rebounds were not enough for the Blazers.

 

Caruso scoreless

Alex Caruso dished off four assists, but it was a tough night for the Lakers shooting guard in a scoreless outing. He was 0-of-three from the field, missing both of his three-point attempts.

The less said about the Grizzlies' performance from beyond the arc, the better. Memphis were just five-of-33 from three-point range – shooting at 15.2 per cent in a crushing defeat at home to the Suns.

 

Rozier calls game!

Terry Rozier nailed a jumper as time expired to lift the Charlotte Hornets past the Golden State Warriors 102-100. Rozier finished with 36 points. Golden State lost Stephen Curry (illness) moments before tip-off.

 

Saturday's results

Charlotte Hornets 102-100 Golden State Warriors
Miami Heat 96-94 Los Angeles Lakers
Chicago Bulls 122-114 Sacramento Kings
Phoenix Suns 128-97 Memphis Grizzlies
Washington Wizards 118-111 Portland Trail Blazers
San Antonio Spurs-New York Knicks (postponed)
Houston Rockets-Indiana Pacers (postponed)

 

Nets at Clippers

It will be a blockbuster battle on Sunday when the Brooklyn Nets (19-12) visit the Los Angeles Clippers (22-9). The Nets will be without Kevin Durant (hamstring) for a fourth consecutive game. Both teams are second in their respective conferences.

Oscar Valdez upset Miguel Berchelt with a brutal knockout to become the WBC super featherweight champion.

Valdez (29-0) dethroned Berchelt at MGM Grand, where he floored his fellow Mexican with a devastating left hook in the final second of the 10th round on Saturday.

Having knocked down Berchelt (38-2) twice earlier in the fight, Valdez landed the vicious blow in the 10th as his opponent laid unconscious on the canvas for a few tense moments in Las Vegas.

"There's nothing better in life than proving people wrong. I had a list of people who doubted me. My idols doubted me. Boxing analysts doubted me," Valdez said.

"They said Miguel Berchelt was gonna knock me out. But I got a message to tell everybody: Don't let nobody tell you what you can can and can't do.

"Always work hard and be disciplined in life. Try to do your best, stay disciplined, and never let anyone tell you you can't do something. Prove them wrong."

Valdez – now a two-time world champion having previously enjoyed a reign as WBO featherweight champion for nearly three years – added: "It wasn't easy training in a pandemic, but try to go for your dreams.

"Always train hard, do your best, try to always be number one. Nothing's impossible. My team was a big part of this."

Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said star Stephen Curry "did not feel well" prior to the team's buzzer-beating loss to the Charlotte Hornets.

Curry was ruled out just moments before tip-off as the Warriors suffered a last-gasp 102-100 defeat against the Hornets on Saturday.

Two-time MVP Curry took part in the warm-up before he was replaced by Mychal Mulder in the starting five.

"Going through his usual warm-up routine, he just did not feel well at all," Kerr said post-game, discussing Curry's absence.

"And so he came back in, saw the Charlotte team doctor, went out tried to warm up and just wasn't feeling good.

"So we made the decision, the training staff and Steph and I, we all made the decision to not play him.

"We'll see how he's doing [Sunday] ... There were no [COVID-19] protocols in place. Just him feeling sick."

Curry is averaging 29.9 points, 6.2 assists and 5.4 rebounds per game for the Warriors (16-15) this season.

It remains to be seen whether Curry will feature against the New York Knicks on Tuesday, with Kerr adding: "Hopefully. We'll see how he's feeling the next couple of days."

"Our offense is based on Steph," Kerr said. "Obviously our pace, everything else. So it took us some time to get our feet on the ground but once we did I thought we really competed well and did everything necessary to win the game. We fought, we competed together."

Sam Burns was two strokes clear at the top of the leaderboard when the Genesis Invitational third round was suspended due to darkness on Saturday.

Overnight leader Burns completed 13 holes before fading light brought a premature end to the penultimate round at Riviera Country Club in California, where 24 players did not finish their rounds following inclement weather earlier in the day.

The third round will resume at 06:45 (local time) in Pacific Palisades on Sunday.

American golfer Burns carried a five-shot lead into the third round of the PGA Tour tournament.

That advantage reduced to just two strokes after going two over through 13 holes, to be 10 under overall at the time of the suspension.

England's Matthew Fitzpatrick (through 17) is the nearest challenger, while world number one Dustin Johnson (through 13), Wyndham Clark (through 15) and Max Homa (through 13) are lurking at seven under.

Jordan Spieth – seeking his first title since the 2017 Open Championship, is through 15 and four under as the three-time major winner and former world number one prepares to return early on Sunday morning.

Spanish star Jon Rahm managed to complete his round, carding a one-over-par 72 to be two under through 54 holes, alongside the likes of Xander Schauffele (71).

Four-time major champion Brooks Koepka is two over following his forgettable third-round 77, while defending champion Adam Scott (through 15) is struggling at four over.

Kevin Durant will sit out his fourth consecutive NBA game when the Brooklyn Nets face the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday.

Nets star Durant has sat out games against the Los Angeles Lakers, Phoenix Suns and Sacramento Kings due to a left hamstring strain.

The former NBA MVP also missed three games due to the league's health and safety protocols before returning for his reunion with the Golden State Warriors last week.

Speaking on Saturday, Nets head coach Steve Nash told reporters: "I don't have a timeline, but he's out for tomorrow. So still just trying to regain that strength and his rehabilitation.

"Like I keep saying, I don't think this is a long-term thing. But there are elements of maybe it being, taking a few more days than we thought or just being cautious.

"I think right now both are necessary. I don't think he's ready, I think he needs more time, but we're also definitely going to be cautious."

Durant is averaging 29.0 points, 7.3 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game for the star-studded Nets this season.

The Nets (19-12) have won all three games in Durant's latest absence to be second in the Eastern Conference, behind the Philadelphia 76ers (21-10).

France prop Mohamed Haouas and wing Gabin Villiere have followed scrum-half Antoine Dupont and coach Fabien Galthie in testing positive for coronavirus.

The Six Nations leaders, who have won two games from two in this year's tournament, are struggling to contain a COVID-19 outbreak in their camp.

Dupont, Galthie, forwards coach William Servat and another staff member returned positive tests earlier this week.

Following another round of testing, the French Rugby Federation (FFR) announced on its website on Saturday that Haouas and Villiere have also contracted the disease.

France's health minister Olivier Veran said on Thursday that anyone testing positive would now need to self-isolate for 10 days, instead of the previous seven.

All members of Les Blues' squad will be tested again on Sunday, the same day that a new 31-man training squad is to be named for next week's clash with Scotland in Paris.

Haouas, Villiere and Dupont started France's victories over Italy and Ireland, with the latter named player of the round in the opening set of fixtures.

Naomi Osaka has set her sights on a fifth grand slam trophy after winning the Australian Open.

Osaka added a fourth major title to her collection thanks to Saturday's 6-4 6-3 victory over 22nd seed Jennifer Brady in Melbourne.

Former world number one Osaka became the first woman since Monica Seles in the early 1990s to emerge victorious from the first four grand slam finals of her career, having boasted a perfect 3-0 record following success at the US Open (2018 and 2020) and Australian Open (2019).

Osaka has been tipped to dominate the WTA Tour and celebrate further major success, but the Japanese star and third seed is not looking too far into the future.

"I'm taking it in sections," Osaka, who reeled off six successive games from 4-4 in the first set against Brady to take control, said during her post-match news conference.

"For right now, I'm trying to go for five. You know, after five I would think about maybe dividing the 10, so maybe seven or eight.

"I like to take things not big-picture. For me, I like to live in the moment. It's an honour that he [Mats Wilander] said that [I would get a minimum of 10], of course.

"But I don't want to weigh myself down with pressure and expectations. I know that the people that I'm playing against are the best players in the world and, if my time comes to win another Grand Slam, it will come.

"But for right now I can only control what I can control, and that's working hard and giving myself opportunities."

Osaka - who fended off a pair of match points against Garbine Muguruza in the last 16 at Melbourne Park - also became the seventh woman to have won the Australian Open after saving match point, following in the footsteps of Seles (1991), Jennifer Capriati (2002), Serena Williams (2003 and 2005), Li Na (2014), Angelique Kerber (2016) and Caroline Wozniacki (2018).

The 23-year-old won in 77 minutes to become the 12th woman in the Open Era to clinch multiple Australian Open titles. 

Osaka has now gone 21 matches without defeat - she is only the third woman since 2010 to enjoy an unbeaten streak of 20 or more matches, joining Serena (27 wins between 2014 WTA Finals and 2015 Madrid) and Azarenka (26 wins between 2012 Sydney and Miami).

Asked about her perfect record in slam finals, Osaka added: "I feel like for me I'm not sure if it's something you're born with.

"But I know that I didn't play a lot of tournaments when I was a kid, so I'd always want to take the opportunity whenever someone was watching me, I'd feel like it was more fun that way.

"So maybe that's how I developed wanting a crowd and wanting to play in front of more people.

"I also think it's because I watched a lot of grand slams growing up and seeing the crowds, seeing Arthur Ashe Stadium, seeing how it was in Australia and Rod Laver, and wanting to play in front of people and wanting to be the person holding up the trophy."

Following in the footsteps of Seles and 20-time slam champion Roger Federer as the only three players to have won their first four major deciders, Osaka said: "That's very amazing company. I hope that I can have one grain of how their career has unfolded.

"You can only wish and you can only just keep going down your own path. But, yeah, it's definitely something crazy to hear."

Dan Carter was hailed as "one of the best to have ever played the game" who has "amazed for almost two decades" after the New Zealand legend announced his retirement.

Mercurial fly-half Carter confirmed on Saturday that his incredible career is over at the age of 38.

The All Blacks great won the Rugby World Cup twice and is the record points-scorer in Tests with 1,598, while he was named World Rugby Player of the Year a joint-record three times.

Carter claimed three Super Rugby titles with the Crusaders, while he also won honours with Perpignan, Racing 92 and Kobelco Steelers.

He tweeted: "I officially retire from professional rugby today. A sport I've played 32 years which has helped shape me into the person I am today.

"I can't thank everyone who has played a part in my journey enough, particularly you, the fans. Rugby will always be a part of my life. Thank you."

The All Blacks paid tribute to Carter on social media, posting: "Thank you @dancarter_. You have amazed us for almost two decades with your deeds on the field.

"Now it's time to put your feet up and enjoy the next chapter. #Icon."

The world governing body also expressed its gratitude to the number 10.

A post from the World Rugby account said: "A two-times @rugbyworldcup winner and one of the best to have ever played the game. Thank you for everything you have given to our sport, @DanCarter."

Former South Africa wing Bryan Habana simply wrote: "Congrats on an incredible career @DanCarter !!"

A tweet from the Springboks account read: "Congratulations on a stellar career @DanCarter and good luck with the next chapter. You'll always be welcome for a braai here in South Africa!"

Former referee Nigel Owens posted: "You will be remembered as one of the greatest ever, but more importantly, not just on the field but off it as well.

"A true gentleman. It was always a pleasure and privilege. Best wishes for the future."

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