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Valtteri Bottas lapped close to record pace as he put Formula One champions Mercedes back on top of the testing timesheets on Friday, but Ferrari suffered an engine problem.

FILE PHOTO: Formula One F1 – Pre Season Testing – Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain – February 21, 2020 Alfa Romeo's Antonio Giovinazzi during testing REUTERS/Albert Gea

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BARCELONA: Valtteri Bottas lapped close to record pace as he put Formula One champions Mercedes back on top of the testing timesheets on Friday, but Ferrari suffered an engine problem.

The Finn, whose team mate Lewis Hamilton is aiming to equal Michael Schumacher's record seven titles, produced the quickest lap of Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya so far in the first pre-season test of 2020.

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Bottas's time of one minute 15.732 in the morning session was three tenths slower than the outright circuit lap record of 1:15.406 he set in qualifying for last year's Spanish Grand Prix.

Bottas had also completed 65 laps, one short of a full race distance, by lunchtime.

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SYDNEY: Leg-spinner Poonam Yadav bamboozled Australia as India opened the seventh edition of the Women's Twenty20 World Cup with a stunning upset of the reigning champions and tournament hosts by 17 runs at Sydney Showground on Friday (Feb 21).

Australia restricted India to 132 for four and looked on course to run down their victory target when a half century from Alyssa Healy got them nearly halfway there.

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But Yadav (4-19) removed the opener right after she reached the milestone and then, roared on by a crowd of 13,432 overwhelmingly backing the visitors, wreaked havoc with a string of "wrong'un" deliveries that the Australians were unable to pick.

Rachael Haynes and Ellyse Perry were sent back in successive deliveries and Yadav was only denied a hat-trick when wicketkeeper Taniya Bhatia was unable to take a difficult chance off the bat of Jess Jonassen.

Bhatia made no mistake off yet another Yadav "wrong'un" to remove Jonassen cheaply two overs later and Australia were reeling at 82-6.

The four-times World Cup winners were unable to recover despite a dogged 34 from Ash Gardner, the righthander avoiding becoming Yadav's fifth victim only after the umpires ruled the Indian's looping delivery had bounced twice.

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DETROIT (REUTERS) – All-Star Giannis Antetokounmpo piled up 33 points, 16 rebounds, four assists and three steals as the Milwaukee Bucks continued their dominance of the Detroit Pistons with a 126-106 victory in the National Basketball Association on Thursday (Feb 20).

The Bucks, who own the league's best record, have defeated the Pistons 11 consecutive times, including the post-season. Milwaukee are 3-0 against Detroit this season after sweeping the four-game season series a year ago and sweeping their Central Division rivals again in the first round of the playoffs.

Milwaukee's Khris Middleton contributed 28 points and eight rebounds. Eric Bledsoe had 19 points and six assists, and Brook Lopez tossed in 18 points for the victors.

The Bucks, who have won 15 of their past 17 games, will conclude the season series against Detroit on March 23 at Milwaukee.

Christian Wood led the Pistons with 18 points and 11 rebounds. Bruce Brown had 16 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists. Derrick Rose and Langston Galloway scored 12 points apiece, Thon Maker added 11 points, and Tony Snell had 10.

The Pistons, who play their next four games on the road against Western Conference teams, have lost five straight.

Antetokounmpo had 19 points, 12 rebounds, three assists and three steals in the first half as Milwaukee rolled to a 70-41 half-time lead. Middleton supplied 20 points as the Bucks committed just one turnover during the half while the Pistons made 11, leading to 14 Milwaukee points.

Antetokounmpo had 10 points and eight rebounds during the first eight minutes, and the Bucks led 32-18 after the first quarter.

When Bledsoe drained a three-pointer just over a minute into the second quarteRead More – Source

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LAS VEGAS (REUTERS) – Heavyweights Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder, who will clash in a highly-anticipated rematch on Saturday (Feb 22), will not be able to face off after Friday's weigh-in, a Top Rank Boxing official said.

The Nevada State Athletic Commission will not allow the fighters to stand toe-to-toe as is customary after a weigh-in, Top Rank media relations director Evan Korn said on Thursday.

"The Commission wants to ensure the fight goes off without a hitch," he said.

The news comes one day after the two undefeated fighters shoved each other on stage at the outset of a news conference at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, where the fight will be held.

After exchanging shoves, the two shouted insults in each other's faces at a news conference that had a more hostile tone than previous ones leading up to the fight.

As the event was winding down, it was announced that they would not face off again for pictures.

Britain&#03Read More – Source

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NEW YORK (REUTERS) – Brooklyn point guard Kyrie Irving will undergo season-ending surgery to repair his right shoulder, Nets general manager Sean Marks announced on Thursday (Feb 20).

The injury, described throughout the season as an "impingement," has bothered Irving since early November. He missed 26 games between Nov 16 and Jan 10.

In that time, he visited a specialist and received a cortisone shot, but his shoulder has not been 100 per cent since his return to action on Jan 12.

"The shoulder is a tough thing," Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said. "I just think it was an on-and-off thing where it's bothering you. Some days you feel good, some days you don't feel good. But I think it got to the point it was, 'Hey, let's see another specialist.' "

Irving, who turns 28 next month, is averaging 27.4 points, 6.4 assists and 5.2 rebounds in his first campaign with the Nets. He signed a four-year, US$136 million (S$190.4 million) deal as a free agent in July.

More recently, a sprained knee sidelined him for the final five games before the All-Star break.

The Nets are 17-16 this season when Irving does not play, and they are 8-12 when he has seen action. The team won 12 of their first 18 gamesRead More – Source

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Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike said on Friday it was inappropriate for candidates in London's mayoral election to propose their city host the 2020 Olympic Games if the coronavirus outbreak forces organisers to look for an alternative site.

FILE PHOTO: Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike speaks at the opening ceremony of the Ariake Arena, which will host volleyball and wheelchair basketball competitions in Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan February 2, 2020. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

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TOKYO: Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike said on Friday it was inappropriate for candidates in London's mayoral election to propose their city host the 2020 Olympic Games if the coronavirus outbreak forces orRead More – Source

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REUTERS: The Chinese women's national team will play the home leg of their Olympic qualification playoff against South Korea in Sydney to avoid any travel complications from a coronavirus outbreak, the Asian Football Confederation said on Friday.

Last month, the Olympic qualifying tournament featuring China, Australia, Taiwan and Thailand was hastily moved to Sydney from Wuhan, the city at the centre of the outbreak that has killed more than 2,200 people in China.

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China have remained in Australia since their 1-1 draw with Australia last week, which earned them a two-legged contest with South Korea.

They will begin their playoff campaign with a trip to Yongin on March 6 before returning to Sydney's Campbelltown Stadium for the second leg on March 11.

The playoff winners will secure a place in the Tokyo Olympics soccer touRead More – Source

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In a sport often focussed on results over performance, Ange Postecoglou will look to remain true to his purist values when Yokohama F Marinos kick off the defence of their J-League title on Sunday.

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football – Pre-Season Friendly – Manchester City v Yokohama F Marinos – Nissan Stadium, Yokohama, Japan – July 27, 2019 Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola embraces Yokohama F Marinos manager Ange Postecoglou at the end of the match REUTERS/Issei Kato

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HONG KONG: In a sport often focussed on results over performance, Ange Postecoglou will look to remain true to his purist values when Yokohama F Marinos kick off the defence of their J-League title on Sunday.

With a possession-based game influenced by the stylings of Johan Cruyff and Pep Guardiola, the former Australia coach guided Marinos to their first league title in 15 years last season.

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It was a success that saw the 54-year-old lauded in Japan and beyond as he built on his already healthy reputation for delivering stylish football that produces titles.

Having won the A-League in his native Australia with Brisbane Roar before guiding his homeland to the Asian Cup crown in 2015, Postecoglou's talent has never been in doubt.

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LONDON • Pep Guardiola, in his first press conference since being confronted with the possibility of a two-year Champions League ban for Manchester City over alleged breaches of Uefa's Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations, said he was confident in his club's ability to defend its position.

Speaking after Wednesday night's 2-0 Premier League win over West Ham, courtesy of strikes by Rodri and Kevin de Bruyne, the City manager was adamant the matter was not finished and that he hoped they would be playing in Europe next year.

"The club believes it is unfair so we are going to appeal (to the Court of Arbitration for Sport) and we are going to wait," Guardiola, whose side remain in second place, 22 points behind runaway leaders Liverpool (76), said.

"I trust 100 per cent what my club have said and what they have done, they have explained to me the reasons. We are going to fight, and we are optimistic that next season, if we qualify for the Champions League, we will be there."

Guardiola is under contract until the end of next season and he confirmed he will not be walking away from the club before that point.

"Unless they sack me, which can happen, I will not leave," the Spaniard said. "Why should I? I love this club, I like to be here, and after we have seen the sentence, we will focus on what we have to do.

"I want to stay to continue to help the club and maintain this level as long as possible. That's not just because I have a contract, we want to fight to the end for the people who support this club."

City are battling for trophies on three fronts – the Champions League, the FA Cup and the League Cup. Guardiola insisted his players would not lose focus in light of the legal ramifications.

"We are professional on the pitch," he added. "(We) play our games as best as possible."

City chief executive Ferran Soriano claimed in a video interview that was posted on the club's website the club had "irrefutable evidence" that Uefa's charges were false.

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BARCELONA • Last year, Ferrari dominated pre-season testing, only to splutter in the first half of the Formula One season, with Mercedes winning the first eight races of the campaign.

So this time round, the Scuderia are changing tack in a bid to make sure their preparations translate to tangible results on the track, starting with the March 15 season-opener in Melbourne, Australia.

Charles Leclerc, in their new SF1000 car, was only 11th fastest on the timesheets on Wednesday while teammate Sebastian Vettel called in sick. But that is all part of the plan, according to the Monaco native.

"We changed a little bit our approach compared to last year," he told reporters. "Last year, the testing was great, but the first race was a bit less great (they failed to finish on the podium) .

"We've learnt a few things on this, so this year, we've decided to focus more on ourselves, trying to learn the car as much as possible in the first few days and focus on performance a bit later on."

Leclerc was one of the few bright spots for Ferrari – winning two races to one for Vettel – in what was his maiden season for the Italian team.

Now enjoying equal status alongside the four-time world champion, he also revealed he was able to shape the direction of this year's car to make it more to his liking.

"We have more flexibility in the car set-up this year, so this is always a good thing for both drivers because we can adapt the car to our driving," the 22-year-old said. "We didn't push the car yet but we know we've more flexibility. This is a fact. This can only be positive."

With Ferrari opting to ease up, Mercedes set the pace in testing, with six-time world champion Lewis Hamilton recording the fastest lap in 1min 16.976sec.

The Briton did 94 laps at the Circuit de Catalunya oRead More – Source