The Sport Matrix: Friday 17 January 2014


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The Independent Online

Searing heat forces officials to finally suspend play

The hottest day of the Australian Open so far finally saw play suspended but only after several players suffered in the 43C heat. Jamie Murray endured cramps for several hours after winning his doubles match with John Peers against Matt Reid and Luke Saville, while Varvara Lepchenko (left) and Galina Voskoboeva also suffered heat exhaustion.

Officials halted play just before 2pm, but sets in progress had to be completed. Retractable roofs over the two main courts were closed and play on other courts was suspended for the next four hours. MORE

Murray amazed by his stunning finish in beating Millot

World No 4 Andy Murray defeated Frenchman Vincent Millot 6-2, 6-2, 7-5 at the Rod Laver Arena to earn a third-round meeting tomorrow with Spain’s Feliciano Lopez. The 26-year-old won the last 23 points of the match, an achievement which stunned the Scot himself. Murray said after his victory over the 27-year-old world No 267: “At 6-5, when I went to serve for it someone shouted out: ‘You’ve won 19 points in a row.’ I would say that’s probably the most I’d ever won in my career by far. It’s a very difficult thing to do. I don’t really know how I did it.” MORE

Pochettino: I’ll stay at St Mary’s, for now

Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino insisted that he is “100 per cent decided on staying until the end of the season” as the club reeled from the departure of the chief executive, Nicola Cortese. He also made it clear that no players would be leaving without his agreement. MORE

Morrison remarks ‘out of context’

Rene Meulensteen believes his remarks about Ravel Morrison were taken out of context but Fulham’s head coach refused to be drawn on the tapping-up row with West Ham because it might “get him in trouble”. MORE

Rodgers will ‘never give up’ on title bid

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers said he will “never give up the fight” to win the Premier League title this season and rejected the notion that he would take fourth place if it were offered to him now.

GB set ambitious medal target

Britain’s Winter Olympians have been set a goal by UK Sport of winning three to seven medals at next month’s Sochi Games, with £14m in public and Lottery money having been invested on this Olympic cycle. MORE

Finn frustrated by action problems

Steven Finn admitted that work on his faulty bowling action had felt like “banging his head against a brick wall” as he prepared to leave England’s troubled tour of Australia. But the paceman said “it’s close to clicking”. MORE

Van Persie: Moyes is ‘our leading man’

Manchester United striker Robin van Persie has described manager David Moyes as “our leading man” and believes he will change the club’s fortunes. “Moyes needs time; he’s new,” insisted Van Persie.

Rafael Benitez

Former Liverpool manager explains why Steven Gerrard (left) is key to his old club finishing in the top four and qualifying for the Champions League – at the expense of rivals Manchester United.