The Sports Matrix: Tuesday 30 August 2011

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The Independent Online

Ennis leads field after opening day

Jessica Ennis recovered from a self-confessed “shaky start” to lead the heptathlon after the first day. She registered 4,078 points as she bids to become the first Briton to retain a world title. “It’s so tight,” she said of her lead over Tatyana Chernova. MORE

Turner-round gives Andy bronze

Great Britain’s Andy Turner, who qualified as a fastest loser from the semis, capped a remarkable turnaround by claiming bronze in the 110m hurdles, after Dayron Robles was disqualified. “It won’t sink in until I’ve got that medal round my neck,” he said. MORE

Robson through after retirement

Laura Robson won a first Grand Slam match outside of Wimbledon following the injury-enforced retirement of world No 46 Ayumi Morita. Robson, 17, led her Japanese opponent 7-6, 1-0 before Morita cried off. It was Robson’s first win over a top-50 opponent.

Confident Baltacha hopeful of long stay

British No 1 Elena Baltacha is hopeful of her chances of progressing past the third round of a grand slam for the first time. “I think that’s realistic,” the 28-year-old said. “If I have a decent draw and play well, I can make the second week. That’s the goal.” MORE

Spurs interested in Hargreaves move

Spurs are prepared to offer Owen Hargreaves the chance to prove his claim that he’s ready to play 40 games a season. The England midfielder has made just five appearances in three years, but Spurs manager Harry Redknapp is keen to bolster his squad. MORE

Johnson gives players freedom

England coach Martin Johnson has told his World Cup squad that wives and girlfriends will be welcome during the tournament in New Zealand. “It’s down to players to make sensible decisions,” he said. “It’s the best thing you can have as a player.” MORE

Opinion: James Lawton

The faces of the victim managers said what we needed to know about the impact of City and United. Even beyond Manchester there is not much doubt about the compelling question of the new season. City or United? MORE

Besieged Wenger backed following United defeat

With an increasing amount of supporters calling for his resignation, Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger has received the backing of the club’s board and majority shareholder Stan Kroenke. Sunday’s 8-2 humiliation at Manchester United represented a new low in Wenger’s reign at the club, following the recent departures of midfielders Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri and the failure to significantly strengthen the squad. However, a source at the club has insisted the Frenchman’s position was secure. “The club is 100 per cent behind Arsène,” a source close to the club board said. “The guy has given us 15 years of unprecedented success. It is not even an issue.” A move for South Korean captain Park Chuyoung is expected to be completed today, while the club also retain interest in the Bolton centre-back Gary Cahill, Yann M’Vila, of Rennes, and Sochaux midfielder Marvin Martin. The club have also announced that they will cover the cost of a ticket for a future away fixture for the 3,000 travelling supporters who attended Sunday’s defeat at Old Trafford. MORE

Blatter brands the English ‘bad losers’

Fifa president Sepp Blatter has attacked England, claiming the Football Association are out “to destroy” the Fifa presidency. “We have bad losers,” he said. “This animosity comes from England; all this has been an act of revenge for losing the presidency in 1974.” MORE

Team Sky looking to reign in Spain

Team Sky performed well at the Vuelta a España yesterday, Chris Froome taking the leader’s red jersey and Bradley Wiggins up into third. Froome finished 59 seconds behind stage winner Tony Martin, with Wiggins a further 23 seconds back. MORE