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Hard work, but Djokovic reaches U.S. Open quarters

After Djokovic won an opening-set groundstroke battle with steady accuracy and well chosen forays to the net, Bautista Agut used his big forehand to come back from 4-2 down in the second and win the next four games to level the match.

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The world number one smashed his racquet after losing the second set but made better use of its replacement, winning the third following a service break in the fifth game, before raising his performances in the fourth set to claim victory.

“I was upset with myself,” said Djokovic. “But I managed to regroup. The important thing is that I managed to find a way to win.”

The Spaniard unleashed 34 winners, including 22 from the forehand, but came up short in a quest to reach his first grand slam quarter-final.

“I wanted to play a fifth (set),” the 23rd-ranked Bautista Agut said. “I think I played great tennis and I enjoyed it on the court.

“I think sometimes I felt he was not comfortable on the court. I was moving him a lot and that’s what I wanted before the match.”

Djokovic commended him on his play.

“Credit to him for fighting, for making me work,” said the Serb, winner of this year’s Australian Open and Wimbledon titles. “It was a very physical match.

“He made me work for every point.”

Djokovic will meet Spain’s Feliciano Lopez, who beat Italian Fabio Fognini 6-3 7-6(5) 6-1, in the quarter-finals.

Only Jimmy Connors (27) and Roger Federer (36) have registered more consecutive grand slam quarter-final appearances in the Open era than Djokovic.

“I’m proud of the fact that I’ve been able to achieve so much in my career so far and to be able to play my best in the grand slams, which I was always aiming for,” the nine-times grand slam winner said.

“I’m always trying to set up my form, shape, for these events. This is where I want to peak.”

(Editing by Greg Stutchbury)

US county clerk jailed for refusing to issue gay marriage licences appeals

A US county clerk has appealed a judge’s decision to put her in jail for refusing to issue marriage licences to same-sex couples.

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Lawyers for Kim Davis officially appealed the ruling on Sunday.

The three page motion does not include arguments as to why Davis should be released, but amends Davis’ earlier appeal of the judge’s order.

Davis objects to same-sex marriage for religious reasons and stopped issuing all marriage licences in June after the US Supreme Court legalised gay marriage nationwide.

Two gay couples and two straight couples sued her and US District Judge David Bunning ordered Davis to issue the licences, while the Supreme Court upheld his ruling.

But Davis still refused to do it, saying she could not betray her conscience.

On Thursday, Bunning ruled Davis was in contempt of court for disobeying his order and sent her to jail.

Her deputy clerks then issued marriage licences to gay couples on Friday with Davis behind bars.

“Civil rights are civil rights and they are not subject to belief,” said James Yates, who got a marriage licence on Friday after having been denied five times previously.

Mat Staver, one of Davis’ lawyers, says the marriage licences issued on Friday are “not worth the paper they are written on” because Davis refused to authorise them, but Rowan County Attorney Cecil Watkins says the licences are valid.

Bunning said he did not know if the licences were valid but ordered them issued anyway.

Bunning has indicated Davis will be in jail at least a week, but she could stay longer if she continues to not obey the judge’s order.

Bunning has offered to release Davis from jail if she promises not to interfere with her deputy clerks as they issued the licences, but she refused.

Davis’ plight has reignited the gay marriage debate and the limits of religious freedom and her imprisonment has inspired spirited protests from both sides.

Another rally is scheduled for Tuesday with Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee.

Taumaunu calls time on Silver Ferns job

Silver Ferns coach Waimarama Taumaunu will follow Vicki Wilson through the coaching door, saying the time is right to move on.

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Taumaunu confirmed she will quit her post after the Constellation Cup netball series against Australia in October.

“After taking some time over the past few weeks, I have decided not to apply for the role going forward,” she said.

“I am and will always remain passionate about the Silver Ferns, but I believe it is the right time for me to finish up.”

New Zealand suffered an agonising defeat to the Diamonds in the recent World Cup final in Sydney after beating the hosts earlier in the competition.

But Taumaunu, who took over the role four years ago, says she is looking forward to the four Tests against the Diamonds for the Cup.

“I have enjoyed every moment as head coach and would like to acknowledge the massive support and incredible team who I have worked with over the last four years,” she said.

Applications for the Silver Ferns coaching position after the Constellation Cup close at 5pm on Monday and Netball NZ expects to make an appointment by mid-November.

After winning the world championship with New Zealand as a player in Glasgow in 1987, Taumaunu was assistant to Ruth Aitken for four years before taking over.

Netball NZ chief executive Hilary Poole said Taumaunu guided the Silver Ferns through a period of great change and growth.

“Waimarama has left an indelible mark on our sport,” she said.

“She has instilled in the Silver Ferns a renewed sense of belief and fearlessness following their performances at the Netball World Cup.”

Poole said Netball NZ was confident Taumaunu would remain involved in the game.

Taumaunu’s announcement comes a day after assistant Wilson said she was leaving her position before the Constellation Cup.

The former Australian skipper cited travel as the reason.

AFL to kick goals with 3D printed merch

Imagine your own engraved AFL premiership cup.

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A laser cut membership card. Or a goal-kicking Buddy Franklin figurine.

Those are all options now that the country’s biggest football code has signed up for a 3D printer merchandise deal.

The AFL will make its mark next season with 3D-printer created merchandise and branding after securing a partnership with printer company 333D.

The Victorian-based technology company, which was acquired by Oz Brewing Limited in January, won the licence agreement for the football code after approaching the league.

“It shows great foresight and progressiveness from the people at the AFL in embracing this new technology and the possibilities that it does lead us into,” 333D managing director Frank Pertile told AAP.

“We see it as a genuine opportunity to develop some really unique and exclusive 3D printable content.”

The company will work with the AFL’s marketing team in the off-season to develop a line of products, which could range from player action figures to medallions and coins.

333D has licence to design and create content for every aspect of the game including players, coaches, clubs and marquee games.

“There are 18 football clubs all with unique logos and colours, mascots and all sorts of things so we can develop content around those assets,” Mr Pertile told AAP.

“We haven’t nailed anything down at the moment but it’s just a question of sitting down with the AFL and marketing to develop a roll-out program for the next 12 months and see what we can come up with.”

He told AAP that the speed, detail and cost efficiency afforded by 3D printers blew open the possibilities for the sport’s merchandising.

Ideas in the works include customised memorabilia around occasions like players’ anniversaries, finals season or marquee games which could have a limited run.

“With the technology, there’s no enormous lead time, you can develop things on short notice and you don’t have to manufacture things to mass volume to justify spend.

“We can print in polymer plastic, print in nylon, we can print things in titanium and we are in the process of doing all of that now.”

The company manufactures its own printers in Melbourne and offers printing services in a number of fields including medical, defence, automotive and aerospace industries.

It’s believed this is the first agreement of its type in the Australian sporting arena.

Whisky in space experiment returns home

Whisky that was fired into space almost four years ago as part of an experiment has returned to earth with enhanced flavour and character, according to its creator.

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A vial of unmatured malt from the Ardbeg Distillery on Islay was sent to the International Space Station in a cargo spacecraft in October 2011, along with particles of charred oak.

Another vial of the same whisky was was kept at the distillery for comparison.

It retuned to earth last year and a series of tests by the distillery found that the space samples were “noticeably different” to those kept on earth.

Ardbeg believe it could have “significant implications for the whisky industry”.

The experiment was designed to investigate how micro-gravity would affect the behaviour of terpenes, compounds that give flavour to many foods, wines and spirits.

Dr Bill Lumsden, Ardbeg’s director of distilling, said: “The space samples were noticeably different. When I nosed and tasted the space samples, it became clear that much more of Ardbeg’s smoky, phenolic character shone through – to reveal a different set of smoky flavours which I have not encountered here on earth before.

“Ardbeg already has a complex character but the results of our experiment show that there is potentially even more complexity that we can uncover, to reveal a different side to the whisky.

“Our findings may also one day have significant implications for the whisky industry as a whole.

“In the future, the altered range of wood extractions could lead scientists to be able to detail the ratios of compounds expected in whiskies of a certain age.”

Ardbeg was invited to take part in the space experiment by US space research company NanoRacks, who praised the distillery for being “pioneers”.

Hayne to trouble NFL coaches

Jarryd Hayne will provide a nightmare for opposition coaches as he finds his feet in the game, according to the NFL’s director of football development Matt Birk.

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Citing Hayne’s slick running skills, size and brute toughness, Birk believed the 27-year-old would cause plenty of headaches after watching him in the pre-season.

“He’s kind of a tough match-up if you will on the opposing team because what kind of player can sit on Jarryd?” Birk told Sky Sports Radio on Monday.

“He’s too big, he can overpower the smaller, faster defensive backs and he’s probably too fast for some of the bigger, stronger line-backers.

“And that is key in our game of American football. It’s about the match-up and Jarryd with his unique skill-set causes a problem for defences there.”

A former Minnesota Vikings and Baltimore Ravens centre, who was twice named an All-Pro, Birk believed Hayne would be eased into his offensive role as a running-back, and expected 49ers coach Jim Tomsula to first utilise the former rugby league fullback as a punt returner.

“I’m sure they will start slow with him because he still is new to the sport,” he said.

“Because he is such a good athlete I would imagine he will be playing more of the phases, the kick-offs, the punts, the kick-off returns and the punt returns.

“Even though that is probably less fanfare, it is a very crucial part of our game: the kicking game.

“He will be getting plenty of time and I can imagine as the season goes on, offence is a little bit more complex and they will probably work him in there.”

The 49ers open their campaign when they host the Vikings in Monday Night Football action on September 14.

US dentist regretful after backlash to ’40 hour’ killing of Cecil the lion

Wildlife officials on Tuesday accused an American hunter of killing Cecil, one of the oldest and most famous lions in Zimbabwe, without a permit after paying $50,000 to two people who lured the beast to its death.

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The lion was lured out of Hwange National Park using a bait and was shot by Walter James Palmer, Johnny Rodrigues, chairman of Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force (ZCTF), told reporters.

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Palmer has travelled the world hunting big game and appears in a number of online kill shots.

LionAid, a conservation group, said Cecil was wounded with a bow and arrow, and not shot dead until 40 hours later.

Palmer, a dentist from Minnesota who received widespread criticism on social media for killing Cecil, said on Tuesday he had hired several professional guides who secured permits for his bow hunting trip and deeply regretted taking the lion.

“To my knowledge, everything about this trip was legal and properly handled and conducted,” Palmer said in a statement posted on the Star Tribune newspaper website.

Rodrigues said Palmer paid Zimbabwean hunter Theo Bronkhorst and Honest Ndlovu, a private game park owner, to lure the 13-year-old lion. Bronkhorst and Ndlovu will face poaching charges on Wednesday in Hwange for the lion’s killing on July 1, he said.

Palmer said he had not been contacted by authorities in Zimbabwe or the United States and would assist in any inquiries.

“I had no idea that the lion I took was a known, local favorite, was collared and part of a study until the end of the hunt,” Palmer’s statement said. “I relied on the expertise of my local professional guides to ensure a legal hunt.”

Palmer’s hunting has attracted scrutiny in the past. In 2008, he pleaded guilty to lying to a U.S. wildlife agent about a black bear he killed in Wisconsin two years before.

Palmer was accused of killing a bear about 40 miles outside his permitted zone, hauling the carcass back into the approved area and certifying falsely that it was killed there. He was sentenced to one year probation and fined $2,938.

Comments posted on Twitter about Palmer included, “You are a disgusting excuse of a human” and “when does hunting season start on Walter Palmer.”

Cecil, a distinctive black-maned lion, was a popular attraction at the Hwange National Park and had featured in many photographic shoots. Cecil’s head and skin were recovered and would be used as evidence in court, Rodrigues said.

Lions are not a protected species in Zimbabwe. If convicted, the two men would be required to pay $20,000 in compensation but the court may impose an additional jail term.

Investigations show the killing of Cecil was illegal because the land owner was not allocated a lion on his hunting quota for 2015, Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZPWMA) and ZCTF said in a statement.

“Therefore, all persons implicated in this case are due to appear in court facing poaching charges,” the conservationists said.

Zimbabwe issues annual permits allowing foreign hunters to kill wildlife like the elephant, buffalo and lion, saying this allows it to raise money for conservation.

 

 

Ex-hostel warden on trial for sex abuse

A former school hostel boarder has testified in a Perth court that a warden plied him with alcohol, screened pornographic films for students and sexually abused him on two separate occasions.

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Dennis McKenna is on trial in the West Australian District Court accused of two counts of indecently assaulting the then teenage boy at the St Andrews Hostel in Katanning in 1981 and 1982.

The complainant testified on Monday that he was a naive boy who grew up on a farm before he was sent to the boarding school, which opened his eyes to the world.

He said McKenna did nothing wrong for the first several months of his time at the hostel but then he was invited to McKenna’s flat with some other students where they watched pornographic films and drank alcohol.

He said there was a code of silence about those gatherings.

One night, McKenna sat in the complainant’s bed while chatting with a group of students and placed the boy’s hand over his underwear.

The complainant told the court he felt McKenna’s erection and his hand remained over McKenna’s underwear for about 20 minutes until McKenna whispered for him to remove his hand and said out loud to the group: “Ok boys, that’s enough tonight.”

The complainant said he was “frozen with disbelief” about what had happened and had not given his consent.

On a separate occasion, McKenna allegedly told the boy to visit his flat after lights out and the teenager did so believing it was another group movie night.

“There were no other students there, it was just myself,” he told the court.

The complainant said he did not recall how it happened but he ended up lying naked in bed with McKenna, who caressed the boy and masturbated him.

“Part of me was horrified, part of me was confused and scared, trying to understand why it was occurring, how and why my body was reacting the way it was,” he said.

The complainant said the incident lasted up to 30 minutes and he never spoke to McKenna about it again.

The trial continues.

Dutch media mourn end of an era after Euro 2016 crisis

New coach Danny Blind said the team had “shot ourselves in the foot” with individual errors in the defeat in Konya, which followed on a 1-0 home loss to Iceland on Thursday.

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The two losses in Blind’s first two games left the Dutch floundering in fourth place in Group A, needing to overhaul a two-point deficit on third placed Turkey with two games to play in October to have any chance of reaching the Euro 2016 finals via the November play-offs.

It is a significant fall for the Netherlands after finishing third at the World Cup in Brazil last year.

“We don’t count anymore,” screamed the front page of Monday’s Algemeen Daglad while the high brow Volkskrant said there was a “blatant lack of quality, fitness, speed, teamwork and courage” displayed by the team.

LACK OF CONFIDENCE

Midfielder Wesley Sneijder was not sure what exactly went wrong.

“Maybe it’s bad luck, maybe it’s a lack of confidence,” the Galatasaray player said after the latest loss.

“We let two easy goals in against us that had to do purely with a lack of concentration and focus,” he told Dutch television.

Robin van Persie, dumped as captain by Blind for the Iceland game but restored on Sunday after injury to Arjen Robben, did not hide his feeling.

“The whole qualifying tournament has all been very difficult. We now no longer have it in our own hands. I feel terrible, really terrible,” he said.

The Dutch were on the back foot from the start of the preliminaries as Guus Hiddink’s first competitive game back as coach saw them lose in Prague to the Czech Republic, followed the next month by defeat in Iceland.

Continuing poor performance and mounting criticism saw Hiddink resign after less than a year in charge with Blind promoted up from assistant.

“You let yourself enormously down if you give goals away so easily,” said Blind. “We had a few good chances of our own before half-time. In total maybe more than Turkey but we did not rewards ourselves.”

The Dutch next face Kazakhstan away on Oct. 10 and finish their group campaign at home to the already-qualified Czech Republic on Oct. 13.

They, however, will have more than one eye on Turkey’s progress at the same time in their last two Group A games in Prague and at home to Iceland.

(Reporting by Mark Gleeson; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)