herald

Saturday 16 December 2017

Rafa trying to find his 'rhythm'

Tennis: World number two Rafa Nadal sailed into the quarter-finals of the China Open, his first tournament in 13 weeks, but conceded his quest to regain his lost rhythm continues.

The Spaniard, returning from a wrist injury, beat qualifier Peter Gojowczyk 6-3 6-4 in an hour and 45 minutes to set up a last-eight clash with Martin Klizan at the ATP 500 event.

"In general I need to improve," said Nadal who won 85pc of his first service points against his German opponent.

"My serve worked well today. But in general I need more rhythm on the legs, more rhythm on the shots.

"I want to finish with a better feeling possible to start the new season with good tennis," he added.

Kazahk suspended

Cycling: Kazakhstan cyclist Maxim Iglinskiy has been provisionally suspended after testing positive for EPO, three weeks after his brother admitted doping with the same substance.

The International Cycling Union said Iglinskiy tested positive on August 1, four days after completing the Tour de France. He placed 129th in support of Tour-winning Astana teammate Vincenzo Nibali of Italy.

Astana general manager Alexandre Vinokourov said he was "very disappointed and angered" that Iglinskiy had not understand the team's ethics.

"It is especially unacceptable on the part of a Kazakh rider who stands for the image of our team and the image of our country," said Vinokourov.

Alonso ambiguous

Motor Sport: Fernando Alonso has again refused to rule out a move from Ferrari as Jules Bianchi backed himself to step up if the opportunity arises.

Two-time world champion Alonso has been linked with former team McLaren and also Red Bull in recent months as his future at Ferrari remains up in the air. The 33-year-old still has two years remaining on his contract with the Italian marque but when asked it he could categorically say he would not be driving at Red Bull or McLaren from 2015 onwards, he said: "This is a very difficult question to answer."

When pushed on the matter, he replied: "I will do my best for Ferrari. You cannot do the question and answer for me."

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