The Sport Matrix: Wednesday 15 January 2014


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The Independent Online

Murray in a hurry before warning over conditions

Andy Murray sauntered into the second round of the Australian Open yesterday before sending out a warning to the organisers of the event that the extreme heat could pose further risks.

The Canadian player Frank Dancevic fainted during his match with Benoît Paire amid the sweltering 43C conditions, while a ballboy also collapsed and China’s Peng Shuai vomited. The forecast remains the same for the next couple of days.

“You’ve just got to be very careful these days,” Murray (above) said after his quickfire 6-1, 6-1, 6-3 victory over Japan’s Go Soeda. “There have been some issues in other sports with players having heart attacks or collapsing. I don’t know exactly why that is. In this heat that’s when you’re really pushing it to your limits. You don’t want to see anything bad happen to anyone.”

The Wimbledon champion was satisfied with his display, just his third competitive match since undergoing back surgery in September. “I didn’t expect to play as well as I did today,” he said. “But the signs have been good. I started the match well and did everything solid.” MORE

Fulham coast into Cup fourth round

Fulham recovered from their weekend thrashing by Sunderland to make the fourth round of the FA Cup with a 3-0 replay victory over Norwich last night. Goals from Darren Bent, Ashkan Dejagah and Steve Sidwell secured a trip to Sheffield United on Sunday week. MORE

Wigan through after extra time

FA Cup holders Wigan Athletic required extra-time to dispose of Milton Keynes Dons 3-1 in last night’s third-round replay. Luke Chadwick put the League One hosts ahead before Nick Powell (two) and Marc-Antoine Fortuné secured the Latics a home tie with Crystal Palace next week. MORE

Allam threat as Jelavic joins Hull

Hull City owner Assem Allam has threatened to walk away from the Premier League club if the Football Association stops him from changing the club’s name to Hull Tigers. In more positive matters for the club, Everton forward Nikica Jelavic joined yesterday for £6.5m. MORE

Azarenka extends defence of title

Defending women’s champion Victoria Azarenka overcame initial struggles to make it through to the second round of the Australian Open. The 2012 and 2013 winner overcame Johanna Larsson, of Sweden, 7-6, 6-2. “I felt better as the match was going on,” she said. MORE

England record rare tour victory

England finally returned to winning ways on their tour of Australia, beating a Prime Minister’s XI by 172 runs in Carberra. Jos Buttler (61) and Gary Ballance (56) hit fifties as England posted 264 for 8 before bowling out the hosts for just 92. MORE

Gatland sticks with tried and tested

Gethin Jenkins was included in Warren Gatland’s squad for the Six Nations, despite doubts over his injured knee. Jonathan Davies, Jamie Roberts, Ryan Jones and captain Sam Warburton are all expected to overcome knocks to feature. MORE

Colic attack claims St Nicholas Abbey

St Nicholas Abbey, the highest-earning runner in the history of Ballydoyle, was put down after an attack of colic yesterday. The son of Montjeu scored top-level wins at the Breeders’ Cup and in Dubai, totalling £4,954,590 in prize-money. MORE

Happy McIlroy expects big things

Rory McIlroy believes his engagement to Caroline Wozniacki will benefit him on the greens. “I’m in a great place and am happy,” he said. “I’m feeling good about where I am. It’s hopefully shaping up to be a good year.” MORE

Farah faces tough marathon debut

Ugandan Olympic and world champion Stephen Kiprotich and world record-holder Wilson Kipsang of Kenya will be among Mo Farah’s rivals in April’s London Marathon. The Briton will be racing at the 26.2-mile distance for the first time.

Paul Newman

John Isner, who retired through injury at the Australian Open, says players should receive substantial compensation if they withdraw. It is a sensible solution to a problem which needs to be resolved quickly. MORE