Australian Open Djokovic

Novak Djokovic was denied entry into Australian because he has not been vaccinated against COVID-19. Andy Brownbill/Associated Press

TENNIS

AUSTRALIAN OPEN: Novak Djokovic’s lawyers filed court papers Saturday in his challenge against deportation from Australia that show the tennis star tested positive for COVID-19 last month and recovered, grounds he used in applying for a medical exemption to the country’s strict vaccination rules.

The No. 1-ranked Djokovic was denied entry at the Melbourne airport late Wednesday after border officials canceled his visa for failing to meet its entry requirement that all non-citizens be fully vaccinated for COVID-19.

Defending Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka withdrew from her semifinal match at a WTA tournament with an abdominal injury, allowing her opponent Veronika Kudermetova to advance to the final on a walkover.

“I had a lot of fun playing here in Melbourne. Unfortunately I have an abdominal injury which I need to rest and prepare for the Australian Open,” Osaka said in a statement issued by Tennis Australia.

HOCKEY

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ECHL: The Adirondack Thunder scored four times in the second period to pull away for a 5-2 win over the Maine Mariners at Cross Insurance Arena.

Maine took a 1-0 lead just 52 seconds into the game when Nick Master scored a power-play goal. It was 2-0 early in the second when Nate Kallen scored, before Adirondack pulled way on goals by Jordan Kaplan, Shane Harper, Jake Ryczek and Robbie Payne.

Payne added his second goal of the game in the third period.

The two teams face off against at 3 p.m. Sunday in Portland.

GOLF

PGA: Jon Rahm matched the low score of his career, tied the course record at Kapalua and played his last 12 holes in 11-under par for a 61. He needed it just to catch Cameron Smith at 26 under through three rounds of the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Kapalua, Hawaii.

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In an outrageously low-scoring start to the new year on the PGA Tour, Rahm and Smith pulled away from the rest of the winners-only field by going shot-for-shot, putt-for-putt across so much of the back nine on the defenseless Plantation course.

Rahm capped off his birdie-eagle-birdie-birdie finish with putts from just inside 30 feet and 15 feet. He tied the course record set a few hours earlier by Justin Thomas, who was one shot behind when he finished, but nine shots back when the day was done.

The average score of 67.7 was the lowest at Kapalua since the Tournament of Champions moved to the west end of Maui in 1999. The previous record was 67.8 set the day before.

FIGURE SKATING

OLYMPICS: Alysia Liu joined U.S. champion Mariah Bell and runner-up Karen Chen on the American figure skating team for the Beijing Olympics, even though she was forced to withdraw from nationals following a positive COVID-19 test.

The 16-year-old Liu was in third place after her short program when she took a regularly scheduled test and it came back positive. She immediately told U.S. Figure Skating she would petition for a spot on the Olympic team, and the selection committee chose Liu based on her overall body of work.

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Liu, a two-time national champion, said she’s “feeling well physically and mentally” and has been vaccinated.

• Madison Chock and Evan Bates answered a passionate, near-flawless performance by Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue with a mesmerizing, out-of-this-world show of their own Saturday night to win their third ice dance title at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships.

With Chock portraying an alien in haute couture, and real-life partner Bates an astronaut, the couple danced their way through a medley by French electronic duo Daft Punk to earn a career-best 227.37 points and a standing ovation.

“It just feels so good to accomplish goals you set out for yourself,” Chock said, “and this is a goal we’ve had ever since winning our last national title, getting back on top of that podium.”

Chock and Bates did just enough to hold off Hubbell and Donohue, the defending champions, who had a career-best score of 225.59 in their final nationals appearance. When it came to a conclusion, the two of them dropped to the surface inside the Bridgestone Arena in an embrace so warm it could have easily melted the ice.

• Clearly back on his game, five-time U.S. champion Nathan Chen set a record in the men’s short program.

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With a performance full of superb footwork and spins – oh, yeah, there were two massive quads in it, too – Chen sent a message to all his competitors, here and abroad. His 115.39 points beat the nationals mark of 114.13 he set in 2020.

SOCCER

BUNDESLIGA: Borussia Dortmund fought back from two goals down after a lackluster start to beat Eintracht Frankfurt 3-2 and return some element of excitement to the Bundesliga title race.

•American forward Ricardo Pepi made his Bundesliga debut for Augsburg in a 3-1 loss at Hoffenheim.

The 18-year-old Pepi, who joined Augsburg from Major League Soccer’s Dallas on Monday, came on in the 60th minute with his new team already 2-1 down.

WORLD CUP QUALFYING: Colorado defender Auston Trusty was added to the U.S. training camp roster for keeping Major League Soccer players fit ahead of World Cup qualifiers.

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The 23-year-old has played for youth national teams but not the senior national team. He was invited to Coach Gregg Berhalter’s first training camp in January 2019 but did not appear in matches against Panama and Costa Rica, then didn’t return until last month’s camp. He was not used in the 1-0 exhibition win over Bosnia and Herzegovina.

His addition raises the total to 20 players training in Phoenix through Jan. 21, a camp that will include closed-door scrimmages. Some will join Europe-based players when they report to Columbus, Ohio, for a Jan. 27 World Cup qualifier against El Salvador.

SKIING

MEN’S WORLD CUP: Marco Odermatt’s dominant season in World Cup giant slalom delivered Switzerland the win it craved after a 14-year wait in its classic home race in Adelboden, Switzerland.

At the limit of his balance skiing down the steep final slope, Odermatt hung on to his morning lead to be 0.48 seconds faster than Manuel Feller, who soared from fifth place with the fastest second run.

Alexis Pinturault was third, 0.54 back, and conceded more points to World Cup leader Odermatt in the defense of his overall title.

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WOMEN’S WORLD CUP: Swedish skier Sara Hector dominated a women’s World Cup giant slalom in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, and overtook Olympic champion Mikaela Shiffrin on top of the discipline standings.

Hector posted the fastest time in both runs as she extended her first-run lead to a huge .96 seconds over the runner-up, former French world champion Tessa Worley.

World Cup GS champion Marta Bassino placed third, while Valérie Grenier came fourth as the Canadian skier matched her career best World Cup result.

Shiffrin improved from 14th after the opening run to seventh, 2.05 seconds behind Hector, who now leads the American by 46 points in the GS season standings.

HORSE RACING

SANTA YNEZ STAKES: Under the Stars won the $200,000 Santa Ynez Stakes by three-quarters of a length Saturday at Santa Anita.

Trained by Bob Baffert and ridden by Flavien Prat, Under the Stars ran seven furlongs in 1:22.51.

Sent off as the 4-5 favorite in a field of six 3-year-old fillies, Under the Stars paid $3.80, $2.80 and $2.20.


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