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Djokovic, Federer Win In Shanghai Masters

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World number one Novak Djokovic produced another high-quality display to ease past American John Isner in the Shanghai Masters third round.
Serb Djokovic, 32, did not face a break point as he won 7-5 6-3 against the big-serving 16th seed.
Switzerland’s Roger Federer, 38, also reached the quarter-finals with a 7-6 (9-7) 6-4 win over Belgium’s David Goffin.
Goffin could not convert any of five set points in the opener.
Federer, who won the Shanghai title in 2014 and 2017, will take on German fifth seed Alexander Zverev in the last eight, while Djokovic faces Greek sixth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas.
Zverev, 22, won 6-0 7-6 (7-4) against Russian Andrey Rublev, who trailed 3-0 and 5-2 in the second before finally pushing his opponent, with 21-year-old Tsitsipas beating Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz 7-5 3-6 7-6 (7-5).
Defending champion Djokovic, who won the Japan Open last week, has not dropped a set in seven matches since injury forced him out of the US Open.
“I’m very happy with the way I am playing. This is one of the best serving matches I’ve played,” said Djokovic, who won 85% of his service points.
Later on Thursday, Djokovic and compatriot Filip Krajinovic lost 6-3 6-2 to British pair Jamie Murray and Neal Skuspki in the doubles.
Russian third seed Daniil Medvedev saved five set points in the first set before squeezing past Canadian qualifier Vasek Pospisil.
The US Open runner-up, who won the St Petersburg Open last week, earned a 7-6 (9-7) 7-5 victory to extend his record to two defeats in his past 24 matches.
Those losses came against Spanish world number two Rafael Nadal, who is not playing in Shanghai, in the US Open final last month and the Rogers Cup final in August.
Medvedev, 23, will play 10th seed Fabio Fognini in the last eight after the 32-year-old Italian beat Russian seventh seed Karen Khachanov 6-3 7-5.
Italian 11th seed Marco Berrettini progressed with a 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 win over Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut, boosting his chances to qualify for the season-ending ATP Finals in London next month.

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Arsenal’s Saka Excites NFF President

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President of Nigerian Football Federation (NFF), Amaju Pinnick had nothing but praise for Arsenal wonderkid Bukayo Saka as he spoke about foreign-trained players who can add value to the Nigerian national teams instead of other countries securing their services.
Pinnick has likened the Hale End Academy product to a goldfish with no hiding place, saying that the winger does not need to lobby before he is invited to the Super Eagles.
Since the experienced Delta State administrator became the NFF boss, foreign-trained players such as William Troost-Ekong, Carl Ikeme, Ola Aina, Brian Idowu, Joe Aribo, Maduka Okoye, Tyronne Ebuehi and Josh Maja have chosen to pledge their international futures to Nigeria over their countries of birth.
In an interview with Tidesports source, Pinnick stated : “A lot of people call me, ‘I have a boy that is very good, he’s 21, he’s an exceptional player, he can fit in into any team’.
“The first thing I say to them is that it’s a lie. Once a player is exceptional, it’s like a goldfish that has no hiding place.
“If you see somebody like Bukayo Saka for example, do you need anybody to sell that player? You don’t need anybody.
“There are shortage of good players globally, so once a player is exceptional that player is a goldfish and he’s surrounded by people that have interests immediately.”
The 18-year-old Saka has established himself as a first team regular for Arsenal this season despite the presence of more experienced players, making 29 appearances in all competitions.

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Ex-Liverpool Player Wants To Play For Nigeria

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Former Liverpool defender Michael Ihiekwe has been named to the League One Team of the Season so far in the 2019-2020 campaign by Whoscored in partnership with Sky Sports.
Ihiekwe has been a key player for high-flying Rotherham United who are bidding to return to the English Championship at the first time of asking.
The Liverpool-born center back has contributed to an impressive 7 goals (4 goals, 3 assists) from 38 games across all competitions and has been yellow carded on four occasions.
Described as a defender with robust physical presence, pacy, dominant in the air and descent on the ball, Ihiekwe has committed his international future to Nigeria over his country of birth.
Explaining the choice of Ihiekwe in the Best XI, Ben McAleer wrote : “Ihiekwe has returned a rating of 7.42 this season, that the second-best in League One.
“Maximising a statistically calculated WhoScored.com strength of ‘aerial duels’, Ihiekwe is winning more headed battles per game (7.9) than any other League One player this term to help feature in this team.”

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Yobe Stars Mgt Slashes Salaries By 75 Percent

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The management of Yobe Desert Stars have resolved to cut down the club’s expenses following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Rising from a meeting held on Friday, the club said players and technical crew of the main team will be receiving 25% of their monthly allowance while the feeder and Under-15 teams will receive 50% of their allowances.
This was contained in a statement signed by the chairman of the management committee, Hon Goni Bukar Lawan. Yobe Desert Stars is the first Nigerian club side that will be reducing the salaries of its team.
It will be noted that with the suspension of football activities across the globe, clubs in top leagues such as La Liga, Serie A, and English Premier League have begun to cut down the weekly salaries paid to their players.

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