Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo will look to inflict more Champions League pain on Porto and Borussia Dortmund travel to Sevilla for the first leg in the round of 16 on Wednesday.

Juve advanced from Group G at a canter, winning five of their six games to finish level on points with Barcelona.

The Serie A champions will be expected to knock Porto out, but Andrea Pirlo will be braced for a stern test in the first leg at Estadio do Dragao.

Sevilla do battle with Dortmund at Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan a couple of days after it was announced that Borussia Monchengladbach head coach Marco Rose will take over at the Bundesliga club at the end of the season.

We take a look at the best stats on the two ties courtesy of Opta.

Daniil Medvedev secured his first Australian Open semi-final berth after continuing his domination of fellow Russian Andrey Rublev in straight sets.

Medvedev starred in the Melbourne heat as countryman Rublev faded, winning 7-5 6-3 6-2 on Wednesday to reach his third grand slam semi-final, equalling Alex Metreveli for third place on the Open Era list for most major semis by a Russian man.

World number four Medvedev – the fifth Russian man to reach the Australian Open semis in the Open Era, after Metreveli (1972), Yevgeny Kafelnikov (1999-2000), Marat Safin (2002, 2004-05) and Aslan Karatsev (2021) – will face either 20-time slam champion Rafael Nadal or Stefanos Tsitsipas for a spot in the decider.

Medvedev and Rublev were meeting for the fourth time on the ATP Tour – their second in a grand slam quarter-final, with the former winning all previous meetings in straight sets. 

Runner-up at the 2019 US Open, Medvedev had a glimpse on Rublev's serve before breaking in the sixth game for a 4-2 lead, only to hand the break straight back to his countryman.

The tense battle continued behind closed doors on Rod Laver Arena as a tie-break loomed large, until Medvedev closed out the 46-minute set on Rublev's serve.

It was a similar theme in the second set, with little separating the two Russian hopefuls under the warm Melbourne sun.

Rublev, who won five ATP Tour titles last year – more than any other player, while earning a joint-best 41 wins in 2020 alongside world number one Novak Djokovic, continued to take the match to Medvedev.

Three break-point chances came Rublev's way in the seventh game, but he was unable to convert and Medvedev made him pay as the world number four broke the very next game before earning a two-sets-to-love lead.

Rublev – eyeing his first slam semi – deteriorated in the warm conditions, often hunched over between points while trying to keep cool in the shade, as Medvedev cruised.

 

Data Slam: Medvedev extends streak
There is no stopping Medvedev at the moment after he extended his winning streak to 19 matches, already a career-best run – dating back to the Vienna Open last October.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
Medvedev – 30/33
Rublev – 20/39

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
Medvedev – 14/4
Rublev – 8/3

BREAK POINTS WON
Medvedev – 5/11
Rublev – 1/5

LeBron James' double-double fired the Los Angeles Lakers back to winning ways, while James Harden stepped up to rally the Kyrie Irving-less Brooklyn Nets past the high-flying Phoenix Suns.

James put up 30 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists as the reigning NBA champions leaned on their defense in the 112-104 victory over the last-placed Minnesota Timberwolves.

Without the injured Anthony Davis, Dennis Schroder played the supporting role for James, posting 24 points, while the Lakers battled to claim eight steals and seven blocks in a closely fought contest.

After taking a two-point lead into the fourth quarter at Target Center, the road side pulled away in the closing stages to improve to 22-7 in second place in the Western Conference.

Harden pulled out the stops with a double-double to lead the Nets to a sensational 128-124 comeback win against the Suns, despite playing without Irving after the star guard felt tightness in his lower back.

Nets coach Steve Nash revealed Irving received treatment at half-time of Brooklyn's win against the Sacramento Kings on Monday but expects the six-time All-Star to only be sidelined in the short term.

The Nets surged, scoring 40 fourth-quarter points to turn around a 24-point deficit, with Harden (38 points, 11 assists and seven rebounds) backed up by Joe Harris (22 points) as they halted the Suns' six-game winning streak.

Jokic burns Celtics but Nuggets fall short, Zion on target for Pelicans

Nikola Jokic lit up the Boston Celtics, scoring 43 points, but the Denver Nuggets could still not make triple-digits as their three-game winning stretch was ended in a 112-99 loss.

Zion Williamson shot an efficient 31 points, sinking 13 of his 16 field-goal efforts and going four-of-four from the free-throw line, as the New Orleans Pelicans snapped a three-match losing run with a 144-113 win over the Memphis Grizzlies.

Meanwhile, Damian Lillard’s 31-point, 10-assist double-double led the Portland Trail Blazers past the Oklahoma City Thunder in a 115-104 win, while centre Enes Kanter pulled down 21 rebounds.

 

Bazley struggles to take his chances

The Thunder never recovered against the Blazers after falling 34-21 behind in the first quarter and forward Darius Bazley was one player that could not find his range.

Bazley shot four from 16 from the field for 14 points during his 36 minutes on court, only dropping one his seven efforts from three-point range.

 

Giannis powers up but the Raps edge the Bucks

Giannis Antetokounmpo proved unplayable at times, scoring 34 points in the Milwaukee Bucks' 124-113 loss against the Toronto Raptors, as he ghosted past three defenders for one of his buckets.

Tuesday's results

Boston Celtics 112-99 Denver Nuggets
Portland Trail Blazers 115-104 Oklahoma City Thunder 
Los Angeles Lakers 112-104 Minnesota Timberwolves
New Orleans Pelicans 144-113 Memphis Grizzlies 
Toronto Raptors 124-113 Milwaukee Bucks 
Brooklyn Nets 128-124 Phoenix Suns

 

Jazz at Clippers

There has been no stopping the Utah Jazz, who have won eight straight and 19 of their past 20 games to establish a lead in the Western Conference, but a tough challenge awaits when they go on the road to face the third-placed Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday.

Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James hailed the depth within the NBA champions covering the absence of injured star Anthony Davis in Tuesday's 112-104 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Davis suffered an Achilles strain during Sunday's loss to the Denver Nuggets, though he avoided a rupture as he sat out the Timberwolves clash.

In his absence, James posted 30 points, had 13 rebounds and seven assists, but also had support from German guard Dennis Schroder (24 points), who arrived from Oklahoma City Thunder in the offseason.

James is averaging 25.7 points, 8.2 rebounds, 7.9 assists per game this season, with a .759 win percentage. According to Stats Perform, this is the fourth time in his illustrious career he is averaging 25/seven/seven while winning at least 75 per cent of his games played in a season. No other player in NBA history has had such a season.

Fellow recruits Marc Gasol (11 points and five rebounds), Montrezl Harrell (17 points off the bench) and Wesley Matthews also all earned praise also from the four-time NBA MVP.

"To have the production that we had tonight from our group, Dennis, Trez, Wes and Marc they were huge for us," James told Spectrum Sportsnet post-game.

'We went out in the offseason and got some really good pieces. Tonight was an example of that.

"We had one of our biggest pieces out and everyone came in and chipped in a bit more."

Sofia Kenin revealed she had her appendix removed after being diagnosed with acute appendicitis following her shock Australian Open exit.

Australian Open champion in 2020, Kenin was dethroned in the opening week of the grand slam at Melbourne Park, where she was stunned by Kaia Kanepi in the second round last Thursday.

American star Kenin – who suffered her earliest major exit since Wimbledon in 2019 – revealed via social media on Wednesday that she had an operation in Melbourne.

"Hey guys! I want to share with you what happened to me a few days ago," Kenin said via Twitter.

"I went to the tournament physician office on Monday, February 15th with acute abdominal pain. I was evaluated by the tournament physician and referred to the hospital for further evaluation.

"Acute appendicitis was diagnosed following the completion of my CT scan. I had to have surgery and had my appendix removed on Monday, February 15, at Epworth Hospital Richmond. 

"I want to thank everyone at Epworth Hospital Richmond for taking good care of me!"

Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum admitted he is still battling with the after-effects of coronavirus despite returning to NBA action three weeks ago.

Speaking ahead of Boston's 112-99 win over the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday, where Tatum contributed 21 points, six rebounds and eight assists, the All-Star revealed he was still experiencing respiratory issues during games.

Tatum tested positive for COVID-19 in early January, alongside some team-mates, forcing three Boston games to be postponed.

"I think it messes with your breathing a little bit," Tatum told reporters.

"I have experienced some games where, I don't want to say struggling to breathe, but you get fatigued a lot quicker than normal. Just running up and down the court a few times, it's easier to get out of breath or tired a lot faster; I've noticed that since I've had COVID.

"It's just something I'm working on. It's gotten better since the first game I played, but I still deal with it from time to time."

The Celtics have a 7-10 record since then, slipping to third in the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference, behind the Philadelphia 76ers and Brooklyn Nets.

After a period of quarantine, Tatum returned to the court with 24 points against the Chicago Bulls on January 25.

Tatum has not missed any of Boston's 12 matches since returning, top scoring for the Celtics on seven occasions, insisting the issues have not affected his performances or output.

"It's gotten better obviously from the first game I came back and played, but I guess it's just a long process," he said.

"I've talked to other guys that have had it and they say they experienced the same thing and it kind of just gets better over time. But as much as we play, I guess it takes a little bit longer.

"You've got to take it on the chin when things aren't going great and you're not playing how you should be."

World number one Ash Barty refused to criticise Karolina Muchova's reasoning for a medical timeout after she was surprisingly beaten in the Australian Open quarter-finals.

Barty's bid to become the first Australian woman to win the Melbourne grand slam since 1978 came to a shock end on Wednesday, upstaged by 25th seed Muchova 1-6 6-3 6-2.

Winner of the 2019 French Open, Barty raced through the opening set in 24 minutes and led 2-1 in the second before Muchova requested an off-court medical timeout on Rod Laver Arena.

It was a turning point, Muchova returning reinvigorated as the unheralded Czech reached her maiden major semi-final in remarkable fashion, with the 24-year-old revealing during her on-court interview, "I was a bit lost [gestures at head] on the court and my head was spinning so I took a break. It helped me.

"It was more they just checked my pressure because I was a bit lost. I was spinning. So they cooled me down a bit with ice and it helped me."

Asked about Muchova's actions, Barty told reporters: "It's within the rules. She's within her rights to take that time. If she wasn't within the rules, the physios and the doctors would have said so. That's the laws of our game, is that we have those medical timeouts for cases that are needed. Obviously she needed that today. Completely within the rules for her to take that.

"From my point of view, I've played a lot of matches where there have been medical timeouts. I've taken medical timeouts myself before, so that shouldn't be a massive turning point in the match. I was disappointed that I let that become a turning point. I'm experienced enough now to be able to deal with that. It's a disappointment today without a doubt. But we learn and we move on."

Barty added: "I would have liked to have just been a little bit sharper the next game. Started well with the first point, just made a couple loose errors in that game. I think for the rest of the set, that was the story, it was just over and over-made. Probably pressed a little bit trying to be overly aggressive.

"Had some break points, I think it was that three-all, that was probably a bit of a critical game in the momentum there for the second set. Just disappointed with the fact that I wasn't able to bring the match back on my terms after she took that break."

"I didn't hear what she said when she called for the trainer," Barty continued. "That's not my decision. When you call for the trainer, you obviously tell the umpire what the reason is. And then the doctor and physios come out and assess it. That's within the rules. For me, that's not really my decision and not my concern what she took the medical for.

"Obviously there are rules when we go off the court for whatever areas you're getting treated because that's quite normal. But, yeah, that's not really my decision to make on whether or what her medical condition was or what the timeout was for."

Brady, who tallied 31 unforced errors in the final two sets having only managed six in the first, said: "It's heartbreaking, of course. But will it deter me, will it ruin the fact we've had a really successful start to our season? Absolutely not.

"The sun will come up tomorrow. We go about our work again. You're either winning or you're learning. I think today is a massive learning curve for me, for Tyz [coach Craig Tyzzer], my team as well. We take the positives out of it, without doubt and don't let this particular match, this particular hour of tennis deter us from what we're trying to do."

RB Leipzig coach Julian Nagelsmann says it is "not impossible" for his side to overturn their 2-0 first-leg deficit against Liverpool in the Champions League last 16.

Leipzig were beaten 2-0 in their 'home tie' in Budapest by the English champions, who will host the German club in Liverpool in early March for the second leg.

Angelino hit the post early on for RB Leipzig before Alisson was forced into a good save to deny Christopher Nkunku in the second.

Liverpool then capitalised on Leipzig mistakes with quick-fire goals from Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane offering the Reds a major advantage ahead of the return leg.

"We know the result, but I think we played a good game," Nagelsmann said. "We'll take this with us to the second leg.

"I already want to say before somebody asks the question: The situation is not easier of course, but not impossible either.

"We will do everything and try to reach the next round."

Leipzig had 12 shots to 10, while Liverpool had three shots on target to two and also edged possession in a tight game, where Nagelsmann said capitalising on chances was the difference.

"We needed two, three minutes after these two mistakes," the 33-year-old coach said. "It’s the classic question to ask, if these mistakes will be punished at this high level.

"This is basically punished on every level. Then we needed five, six minutes to bounce back. It was good that we didn't concede a third goal. Then my boys did well again."

The Paris Saint-Germain jersey worn by Kylian Mbappe when his hat-trick helped humiliate Barcelona could have sold for millions at auction but the French ace simply handed it over as a gift to UFC great Khabib Nurmagomedov.

Mbappe's devastating display of pace, power and clinical finishing crushed Barca in PSG's thumping 4-1 triumph in the opening leg of the Champions League last-16 tie, and left the hat-trick hero as the talk of the football world following one of the most scintillating performances of his glittering young career.

Uncertainty has been circling Mbappe, whose PSG contract expires in June 2022 amid strong links to Real Madrid as well as Liverpool, and the World Cup winner clearly had no intention of making the shirt a centrepiece of his own personal collection following Tuesday's exploits.

Instead, Mbappe presented the jersey to mixed-martial arts star Khabib after the UFC's longest-reigning lightweight champion watched the action unfold from the stands in Barcelona, alongside Leeds United's majority owner Andrea Radrizzani at Camp Nou.

Khabib recently vacated his title and retired from UFC competition, revealing he wants to switch the gloves for boots and give professional football a try after discussing the career change with the likes of UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin and Juventus superstar Cristiano Ronaldo.

The unbeaten Russian fighter previously told Match TV: "To play football on a professional level is a childhood dream. Of course, I have such a wish. Football is the king of sports after all."

Mbappe had written a message to Khabib on the jersey, and the man also known as 'the Eagle' was quick to show off his new prized possession to his 27.3million Instagram followers.

Karolina Muchova completed a stunning comeback to upset world number one Ash Barty 1-6 6-3 6-2 in the Australian Open quarter-finals. 

Leading by a set and 2-0 in the second, Barty looked on track to reach back-to-back semi-finals at Melbourne Park, where she was bidding to become the first Australian woman to advance to the final since 1980 and first to lift the trophy since 1978.

But Czech 25th seed Muchova spoiled the 'Barty party' on Rod Laver Arena as her star opponent – unable to stop the rot – sensationally crashed out on Wednesday.

Muchova, whose only previous win against a top-five player came against Karolina Pliskova at Wimbledon two years ago, will contest her maiden major semi-final as either Jennifer Brady or Jessica Pegula await.

Played behind closed doors on the final day of a five-day state-wide lockdown in Victoria, Barty initially showed no mercy in warm and sunny conditions midweek.

Barty, who had lost the second-fewest games (20) en route to the last eight, raced out to a 5-0 lead in just 16 minutes – Muchova managing to avoid a first-set bagel in the only positive in an otherwise forgettable start.

Winner of the 2019 French Open, Barty only dropped three points on first serve, while she won 90 her cent of her second serves – finishing a lopsided first set with six winners and just as many unforced errors.

Progression to the semis appeared to be a foregone conclusion as Barty led and Muchova required a medical timeout away from the court at the end of the third game of the second set.

But Muchova emerged a new player, with Barty fading dramatically after everything she touched had turned to gold in the opening set.

Barty's unforced error count ballooned out to 19 as Muchova enjoyed great success on second serve, winning 12 of 15 points, while the former – who did not face a break point in the first set – only managed four of 15 and served three double faults.

Muchova continued her red-hot form in the deciding set - breaking in the opening game before saving a pair of break points to consolidate and she did not look back as she caused a boilover, which was sealed with an ace.

 

Data Slam: ​Barty loses her way
Unstoppable in a 24-minute first set, Barty crashed back down to earth thereafter. She missed routine shots consistently, with 31 unforced errors in the remaining two sets contributing to her demise.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
Barty – 21/37
Muchova – 17/33

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
Barty – 3/3
Muchova – 2/3

BREAK POINTS WON
Barty – 3/13
Muchova – 4/11

Alisson has been under fire lately but he will "sleep really well" according to Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp after keeping an assured clean sheet in Tuesday's 2-0 win over RB Leipzig.

Second-half goals from Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane earned the Reds the Champions League last-16 victory in Budapest, ahead of the return leg in Liverpool on March 10.

However, prior to those goals Alisson came up with a big save in the 46th minute to deny Christopher Nkunku.

The clean sheet comes after the Brazilian goalkeeper was criticised for his turnovers in the 4-1 loss to Manchester City and a defensive mix-up in the 3-1 defeat to Leicester City in the Premier League.

"Definitely, definitely," Klopp said when asked about Alisson feeling better. "He honestly had big moments in the Leicester game also, some brilliant saves. So that's how it is, but of course it helps.

"A clean sheet, I can imagine Ali will sleep really well on the plane on the way home, and as always he helped us a lot."

Liverpool’s triumph snapped a run of three consecutive defeats amid a period of tumult for Klopp's side as their Premier League title challenge has fallen apart, slipping down to sixth.

The German manager was delighted with his players' response against last season's Champions League semi-finalists, which provided a morale boost although he insisted that was not a tonic for their problems.

"Look, we are not children anymore so we would now think 'OK, now we won that game and everything is fine again'," Klopp said.

"For me it is much more important that we played again good football. Again, not the first time, in the last few weeks, I understand that and I respect that 100 per cent, that nobody is really happy with the results, that's clear."

Klopp's caution is understandable given last month's form dip was halted with wins over Tottenham and West Ham before their latest slump.

He added: "I know Leipzig pretty well and I know how dominant they can be, football-wise, and how overwhelming they can be in a game from a physical point of view.

"That is what we had to deal with tonight and the boys played a really good game, a really good game."

Five-time Ballon d'Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo will play in his native Portugal for Juventus for the first time on Wednesday and coach Andrea Pirlo is expecting something special from his talisman.

Juventus meet Porto in the Champions League last 16 on Wednesday, with the Old Lady determined to improve upon last year's continental exit at this stage to Lyon.

Madeira-born Ronaldo, 36, has not played club football in Portugal since November 2016 when Real Madrid defeated his former club Sporting CP 2-1 in the Champions League.

Pirlo said Ronaldo's return home had provided added motivation for Portugal's all-time top scorer and current international captain.

"[Cristiano Ronaldo] is back home in Portugal," Pirlo said on Tuesday. "He is keen to score even more.

"He proved in the Coppa Italia and with his history in the Champions League, that he lives on the adrenaline of the knockout stages. He is proud to be back home and wants to show them who Cristiano Ronaldo still is."

Ronaldo netted a double in Juve's Coppa Italia semi-final victory over Inter earlier this month, while he is a five-time Champions League winner (four times with Real Madrid and once with Manchester United).

However, continental success has eluded Ronaldo since his move to Juventus in 2018, having lost in the 2018-19 quarters to Ajax and the 2019-20 last 16 to Lyon.

Remarkably since his move from Madrid to Turin, Ronaldo has scored all seven of Juventus' goals in the Champions League knockout stages, which was not lost on skipper Giorgio Chiellini.

"Cristiano is special, but I am not the one who discovered that," Chiellini said.

"He has been added value for us. We have been lucky to train with him to see every day the little secrets helping him become the true champion he is.

"Tomorrow we will play in Portugal, his home, I hope he will have even more motivation to perform well and score."

Australian Open fans are set to return to Melbourne Park from Thursday after the Victorian government confirmed the lifting of restrictions following a five-day lockdown amid the coronavirus pandemic.

While the number of supporters set to attend remains unknown, fans will be back in their seats for the beginning of the Australian Open semi-finals, with record-chasing Serena Williams set to face three-time grand slam champion Naomi Osaka in Melbourne.

Defending men's champion Novak Djokovic will play the tournament’s surprise package, Russian qualifier Aslan Karatsev - who is the first player to reach a semi-final on their grand slam debut.

Djokovic was on court when the lockdown came into effect last Friday, with the five-day "circuit-breaker" designed to control an outbreak of the UK coronavirus strain.

Part of the third round, the fourth round and quarter-finals of singles action were played behind closed doors after a series of outbreaks in Victoria.

The state has recorded 12 more active cases since the lockdown was implemented but, with none discovered in the past 24 hours, Victorian premier Daniel Andrews announced restrictions will be eased.

"I'm very, very pleased to announce that the restrictions will come off, almost all of them, at midnight tonight," Andrews told reporters on Wednesday.

"From 11:59pm [Wednesday local time], the restrictions will be dropped [but] masks will be required indoors and outdoors when you can't socially distance."

The stage-four restrictions meant residents could not leave their homes for any other reason than work, shopping for groceries, exercise or the giving or receiving of medial care.

This year's delayed Australian Open has had crowds capped at 30,000 per day with original COVID-19 restrictions, but new limits are yet to be determined for the rest of the tournament.

"There will be meetings this afternoon [to determine] what is a safe number," Andrews said.

"They already were reduced, they may have to be reduced further, but that matter will be resolved in the next few hours."

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