The Sport Matrix: Friday 3 October 2014


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Murray out to shine again in China

Andy Murray will play his seventh match in nine days when he faces Marin Cilic in the China Open quarter-finals today. Murray is in the middle of a three-week run of tournaments, a decision he made after the US Open. “I chatted with my team and we decided, ‘Let’s try and win some tournaments, let’s try and get back to the latter stages of as many events as I can between now and the end of the year’,” Murray said.

Halfpenny eager to deliver for Toulon

Leigh Halfpenny is determined to impress at Toulon. Club president Mourad Boudjellal threatened to cancel his contract when he was injured for his debut. “It is a big situation, what with everything that has gone on and the only way to respond is to deliver,” the Welshman said.

Alonso’s Ferrari future in doubt

Fernando Alonso is in a dilemma over whether to stay or leave Ferrari. The 33-year-old could see out his contract and stay another season, then take stock again. But there is also the option of a swap, with Alonso going to Red Bull and Sebastian Vettel coming to Ferrari.

Liverpool try to solve riddle of Balotelli

Pressure is mounting on Mario Balotelli to produce a performance worthy of his reputation, but Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has admitted that when it came to replacing Luis Suarez he had few candidates to choose from.

Rodgers acknowledged that, although Balotelli possessed something of Suarez’s star quality, he has carried nowhere near the same level of threat, adding that he “needs to improve – it is as simple as that”.

“It was about the availability and affordability of players and I said when he came in that Mario was a calculated risk and that is something I have to make work for the team,” added Rodgers, after Balotelli was ineffective in Liverpool’s Basel defeat.

St Helens seal Grand Final spot

St Helens ended Catalan Dragon’s play-off run in emphatic fashion to secure their 10th Grand Final appearance at Old Trafford on Saturday week. Saints scored five tries to two, including one from Willie Manu on his final appearance at Langtree Park, to run out 30-12 winners in the first semi-final and put them in sight of a first title since 2006.