Wozniacki upsets Pliskova in WTA tennis

Caroline Wozniacki has defeated world No.

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1 Karolina Pliskova in a marathon Rogers Cup quarter-final match in Toronto, marred by four rain delays on Friday.

The 7-5 6-7 (3-7) 6-4 win arrived after the delays, which all came during the first set, appeared to boost the sixth-seeded Dane.

Trailing 3-0 when the match was interrupted, Wozniacki appeared relaxed during the breaks.

They gave her time to consult with her father and longtime coach Piotr Wozniacki, before she won five straight games and ultimately took the first set.

“Almost every tournament I’ve played this year there has been a rain delay so at this point I just have to laugh because I feel like it is following me,” she said during a courtside interview after the 3 hour 26 minute match.

“Every time this year when it has been raining I’ve had a great tournament, so I thought this must be luck.”

The delays and Wozniacki’s solid all-around game appeared to throw off the big-serving Pliskova, who was playing in her first tournament since becoming the top ranked player.

The victory marks Wozniacki’s first career win against a world No.1 and gives the 27-year-old a 6-2 advantage in head-to-head matches with Pliskova.

Wozniacki will face unseeded American Sloane Stephens in the semi-finals after she overwhelmed Czech Lucie Safarova 6-2 1-6 7-5.

The remaining two quarter-finals will be decided on Saturday.

Fourth-seeded Spaniard Garbine Muguruza is one set up against Elina Svitolina of Ukraine, winning the opener 6-4 before the day’s play was ended by rain.

Simona Halep was yet to start her match against Caroline Garcia.

Saints aim to keep AFL fate in their hands

St Kilda’s AFL finals ambitions are at the tipping point.

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If they beat Melbourne in Sunday’s MCG clash, the Saints stay in control of their destiny and remain on track for a return to September.

Should they lose, they have to start relying on what happens to teams above them on the ladder.

The Saints are 11th and the Demons are one spot above them on 10 wins apiece.

Eighth-placed Essendon are ahead of them on percentage with three rounds left.

After Melbourne the Saints play North Melbourne and Richmond.

“What tomorrow is, certainly for us given our percentage… (the game) still keeps it in our control,” St Kilda coach Alan Richardson said.

“You win 13 games, you’re very, very, unlikely to miss.

“If you lose tomorrow, then it’s very much up to what other teams do … (we will) need a bit of luck.

“It’s good to have our destiny in our control.”

Melbourne, like the Saints, have won only one of their past four games.

The Demons dropped four players, led by Jack Watts, and coach Simon Goodwin spoke of the need for more ferocity in their game.

The hotter it is, the better, for the Saints, who are coming off a tight win over West Coast.

“We couldn’t have come off a better game from that perspective; we ended up winning the contest by 30-odd,” Richardson said.

“That’s when we’re playing our best footy, (when) we’re strong in that space, so it will be a really fierce contest.”

Tall utility Sam Gilbert will return from a broken finger but veteran Nick Riewoldt was ruled out because of concussion.

Richardson said Riewoldt was close to being available and did not take well to the call by the club medical staff.

“He certainly challenges the doctors and that’s an understatement. Tthey’ve asked for mouthguards and head gear after the way he reacted to their call,” Richardson said.

“That’s been his greatest strength … he’s a driven, ambitious, competitive person.”

Hodge return a welcome AFL boost for Hawks

To farewell loyal fans is not the only reason Hawthorn will welcome suspended ace Luke Hodge back for Sunday’s AFL game against North Melbourne in Launceston.

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Hawks coach Alastair Clarkson said the retiring former skipper is critical to organise an inexperienced defence that was exposed by Richmond’s relentless pressure last round.

“We missed him last week” Clarkson said.

“We’ve got a pretty young defence and they’ve acquitted themselves pretty well, but the wise, old counsel of Hodgy has assisted them enormously.

“He has had a rest, so, hopefully, he’s jumping out of his skin to play again.

“It (Tasmania) has been a home away from home for us for a long period of time, and he has been a big part of that.

“So, it will be a good chance to thank the fans down there.”

Clarkson reaffirmed 198cm second-year backman Kaiden Brand for the important role on Kangaroos forward Ben Brown.

“Brandy’s probably the only one down there who has got the reach to get anywhere near Browny,” Clarkson said.

“So, he’ll probably get first crack on him, but the way we defend, we’re going to need guys to help out at different stages.

“And that includes the midfield to apply pressure on the ball so it’s not giving easy access to Brown and others.

” … their midfield is still very, very strong. They’ve got some outstanding leaders and really strong ground-level players and (Todd) Goldstein is still a very threatening ruckman.

“We need to win that midfield battle so it doesn’t get to Brown. Even in their defence with (Robbie) Tarrant and (Scott) Thompson, they acquit themselves well.”

Clarkson said it was as important for prized recruit Jaeger O’Meara as much as the club for the injury-restricted midfielder to start back with VFL affiliate the Box Hill Hawks this weekend.

“We had to make sure the bone stress in his knee was fully repaired,” he said.

“Because there has been so much hysteria around his recruitment, I think it’s important for him and our footy club and supporters and just quietening down the hysteria on whether he’s ever going to return.”

“He gets a reminder of what it’s like to play footy again. He has played very little over three years now, so any game is fantastic for him.”

Not all doom and gloom for Sharks: Gallen

The man hurting the most after Cronulla’s thrashing by Brisbane – Paul Gallen – insists it is “not all doom and gloom” for the defending premiers despite their pre-finals stumble.

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Gallen was shattered after his 300th-game celebrations were soured by Brisbane, who kept their top-four hopes alive with a 32-10 romp at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night.

In contrast the Sharks could finish the round in sixth after their second straight loss.

Cronulla appeared fatigued in an error-riddled display that turned a match billed as a top-four blockbuster into a one-sided fizzer.

But Gallen – who turns 36 on Monday – warned Cronulla fans not to panic, reminding them the Sharks also appeared vulnerable before their historic premiership triumph.

Last year Cronulla lost four of their last five regular-season games before regrouping to clinch their maiden title.

“I think the motivation is still there (to defend the premiership),” Gallen said.

“We still want to win. I think we lost three in a row this time last year so it’s not all doom and gloom.

“We can turn it around in one game.”

Sharks coach Shane Flanagan went one better, saying they could fix their problems in one half.

That may be easier said than done after Cronulla made 16 errors and missed 54 tackles against Brisbane.

“I don’t think we are lacking drive or energy, I just think it is our discipline in all areas of the game and it has been an issue all year,” Flanagan said.

“But we can fix it one game. We can fix it in one half.”

Flanagan bristled at the suggestion Cronulla had finally run out of gas after clawing their way through the season earning some wins “they didn’t deserve”.

“I don’t know if we have won games we didn’t deserve to, we have fought really hard,” he said.

Flanagan couldn’t hide his disappointment after Gallen lost yet another milestone game, having lost his 100th and 200th matches.

“I don’t want that performance to take away from Gal’s 300,” Flanagan said.

“It should be celebrated. But we just couldn’t get the job done. It’s disappointing.”

Gallen became just the second man to play all of his 300 games for Cronulla, behind only Andrew Ettingshausen (328).

“I am happy I got to 300 games but it is about the team and we didn’t perform well tonight,” Gallen said.

“We are all hurting, not just me, about the performance we put on.”

Hong Kong now involved in contaminated egg scandal

Ministers and food safety chiefs from around the European Union are set to meet on September 26 in a bid to get countries to stop “blaming and shaming” each other over the scare involving the chemical fipronil.

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Millions of eggs have been pulled from supermarket shelves across Europe and dozens of poultry farms closed since the discovery of fipronil, which can harm human health, was made public on August 1.

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The issue has sparked a row between Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany, the three countries at the epicentre of the crisis, about how long they knew about the problem.

“Blaming and shaming will bring us nowhere and I want to stop this,” Vytenis Andriukaitis, the European Commissioner for health and food safety, told AFP as he announced the meeting.

“We need to work together to draw the necessary lessons and move forward instead.”

0:00 Belgian farmer fears economic effects as egg scandal widens Share Belgian farmer fears economic effects as egg scandal widens

European Commission spokeswoman Mina Andreeva said that “this is not, let’s be clear, a crisis meeting” and it is being held next month to get “distance to the events”.

Fipronil is commonly used to get rid of fleas, lice and ticks from animals but is banned by the European Union from use in the food industry. 

The EU insists there is no threat to human health, but the World Health Organization (WHO) says that when eaten in large quantities it can harm people’s kidneys, liver and thyroid glands.

Dutch admit ‘errors’ 

Brussels said the 15 affected EU countries were Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, France, Sweden, Britain, Austria, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Denmark, along with non-EU Switzerland.

But in a sign the crisis is going global, Brussels also announced that Hong Kong had received some tainted eggs from the Netherlands, with the southern Chinese city becoming the first place in Asia known to be affected.

Hong Kong health minister Sophia Chan said Saturday authorities were “strengthening” inspections of eggs from Europe.

As well as dealing with the immediate food safety issue, the EU is also seeking to calm tempers over the egg row after a series of divisive crises in the bloc in recent years, from Brexit to migration.

0:00 Two arrested as Europe egg scandal spreads Share Two arrested as Europe egg scandal spreads

Belgium earlier this week accused the Netherlands of knowing about the fipronil eggs since November 2016 and failing to notify other countries.

On Thursday Dutch Health Minister Edith Schippers admitted the government had made “errors” but denied a cover-up.

“We were well aware of a report of the presence of fipronil in the pens of egg-laying hens in November 2016, but there was no indication at the time that fipronil itself was found in the eggs,” said Schippers.

A Dutch whistleblower separately said he had told the authorities that Chickfriend, the Dutch company at the centre of the scandal, was illegally using fipronil in the treatment of lice in chicken pens in The Netherlands.

“I am the anonymous whistleblower,” Nick Hermens told the NPO public broadcaster.

A Belgian company, Poultry Vision, has said it provided Chickfriend with the chemical.

Dutch and Belgian investigators carried out coordinated raids on several premises on Thursday, arresting two people at Chickfriend.

However, Belgium itself has been forced to admit that it knew about fipronil in eggs back in June but kept it secret for nearly two months because of a criminal investigation.

Fresh discoveries  

Fresh discoveries of contaminated eggs have continued daily.

Denmark said on Friday it had found two tonnes of fipronil-tainted scrambled eggs, bringing the total of contaminated eggs to 22 tonnes, mainly from Belgium. 

Poland said it had discovered about 40,000 eggs imported from Germany.

French Agriculture Minister Stephane Travert said that since April the country had sold nearly 250,000 contaminated eggs, imported from Belgium and the Netherlands, but the risk for consumers was “very low” given French eating habits.

The food scare is one of the biggest to hit Europe since the 2013 horsemeat scandal when equine meat was falsely labelled and mis-sold.

Previous food scandals include contamination of chickens and eggs by dioxin in 1999, which began in Belgium, and mad-cow disease — cattle feed contaminated by the ground-up carcasses of animals infected with a deadly brain disorder — which ran from roughly 1986-1998 and started in Britain.

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