Sun, Jan 11, 2015 - Page 18 News List

SPORTS BRIEFS

Agencies

TENNIS

Wildcard entries awarded

Americans Denis Kudla and Irina Falconi were among six players awarded wild-card entries yesterday for the Australian Open beginning on Jan. 19 at Melbourne Park. Kudla and Falconi finished first in their respective divisions of the USTA Pro Circuit Australian Open Wild Card Challenge standings. France’s Lucas Pouille and Oceane Dodin were given wild cards due to a reciprocal agreement between Tennis Australia and the French Tennis Federation. They join Asia-Pacific wild cards China’s Zhang Ze and Taiwan’s Chang Kai-chen, who won an Australian Open 2015 Asia-Pacific playoff in Shenzhen, China, late last year.

TENNIS

Murray eyes Melbourne title

Andy Murray has made an impressive start to the new year despite being troubled by left shoulder soreness as he prepares for the Jan. 19 start of the Australian Open. The 27-year-old winner of the 2012 US Open and 2013 Wimbledon played an exhibition in Abu Dhabi where he beat Feliciano Lopez and Rafael Nadal, then represented Britain at the Hopman Cup team event in Perth with Heather Watson.

Murray beat France’s Benoit Paire, Poland’s Jerzy Janowicz and Australia’s Marinko Matosevic, all in straight sets, despite the shoulder complaint he thinks he picked up in Abu Dhabi.

The Scotsman says he’s content to not play in a tournament until the Australian Open, heading instead to Melbourne Park. “Instead of playing a match, one of the days I might use as a rest day to recover and hopefully I can get six or seven good days on-site before the tournament starts,” he said.

BASKETBALL

Suns sign Celtics’ Wright

The Phoenix Suns made a move to beef up their front line on Friday by acquiring Brandan Wright from the Boston Celtics for a protected first-round draft pick. The 2.08m forward averaged 7.5 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.2 blocks in 35 games this season for Dallas and Boston. The former first-round draft pick is in his seventh NBA season. Wright came to Boston in the Dec. 18 trade that sent guard Rajon Rondo to Dallas. The draft pick, originally Minnesota’s, is top-12 protected this year and next year. If the pick is not used by next year, then the Timberwolves would instead give up their second-round picks next year and in 2017. The Suns also waived forward Tony Mitchell, acquired in a trade with Detroit on Dec. 24. Wright was an attractive acquisition partly because he has a US$6 million contract that expires after this season. Phoenix has a guard-heavy lineup that can use some inside strength. “The way Dallas played last year is somewhat similar to what we play — being in the open court and pick and rolls,” Suns coach Jeff Hornacek said.

ICE HOCKEY

Museum buys ‘Moffatt stick’

A Canadian museum has snapped up the world’s oldest known ice hockey stick — made out of maple — for US$300,000. The “Moffatt stick” was hewn in the 1830s in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, “from a single piece of sugar maple,” the Canadian Museum of History said on Friday. “Hockey is Canada’s game — we developed it and we cherish it like no other country in the world,” said Mark O’Neill, the museum president, who called the stick an example of the facility’s “national treasures.” The stick was owned by one family — the Moffatts — from its creation until the early 1980s, when it was given to a barbershop owner, who then sold it in 2008 to the man the museum bought it from.

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