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Kvitova reaches first French Open quarter-final for 8 years

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Czech left-hander Petra Kvitova reached the French Open quarter-finals for the first time in eight years as she overpowered China’s Zhang Shuai 6-2 6-4 on Monday.

On yet another chilly day in the French capital, seventh seed Kvitova’s superior firepower proved decisive as she posted her fourth successive straight sets victory.

With so many big names already out, twice Wimbledon champion Kvitova will sense a golden title opportunity as she heads into a quarter-final against unseeded German Laura Siegemund.

“It was a great one today for sure,” said Kvitova, who returned to action at the 2017 French Open following a knife attack six months earlier that left her with career-threatening hand injuries.

“To be back on the same court that I made my comeback and to make the quarter-final is something I didn’t expect. I’m trying to play faster here and play aggressive off the returns,” she told Eurosport.

The 30-year-old, whose best finish here was reaching the 2012 semi-finals, made her intentions clear from the start as she seized on anything short to dominate from the baseline.

She moved 4-0 ahead in 15 minutes on Court Philippe Chatrier.

Zhang, in the fourth round of a Slam for only the third time in 33 attempts having also not dropped a set so far, finally began to dig her heels in as Kvitova’s error-count increased.

But she was unable to turn the tide.

Kvitova had to wait around in the cold as Zhang took a medical timeout at the end of the first set, but she turned up the heat to get an early break in the second set.

She broke again to lead 5-2, but some wild errors allowed the Chinese to win two straight games and create some tension.

Kvitova regained her focus though to seal victory with a love service hold.

World number 66 Siegemund, the oldest player left in the draw at 32, beat Spain’s Paula Badosa 7-5 6-2 to reach her first Grand Slam quarter-final.

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Austin Eguavoen reveals he was a master tactician before AFCON (Video)

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Newly trending video posted on ATHLST’s YouTube channel shows Super Eagles coach Austin Eguavoen breakdown Nigeria’s football philosophy and his preferred playing style while looking back at some of Nigeria’s most historic teams.

It’s a much watch.

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AFCON: Super Eagles to face Tunisia in next round

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The Super Eagles of Nigeria will square off with Tunisia in the round of 16 stage of the African Cup of Nations following the North African nation finishing one of four best losers at the group stage.

The Carthage Eagles lost 1-0 to Gambia on Thursday night to finish third in Group E on three points, but this was good enough for Tunisia to scramble into the knockout rounds.

Both Eagles met at the bronze medal match at AFCON 2019 in Egypt with Nigeria getting the better of Tunisia 1-0 thanks to Odion Ighalo’s goal.

The teams will face off in Garoua on Sunday at 8 pm.

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NFF to allow Eguavoen remain Super Eagles’ coach

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The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has said Augustine Eguavoen can keep the national team job on a permanent basis if he wants.

The 56-year-old stepped in on an interim basis after Gernot Rohr was sacked in December.

Eguavoen has so far impressed at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations, with the Super Eagles winning all their Group D fixtures.

However, he was supposed to hand over to Jose Peseiro after the tournament.

But ESPN reports that the NFF is having second thoughts about that.

“We will have to leave him there, unless he doesn’t want the job,” an NFF source said.

Eguavoen is currently the NFF Technical Director, but the football house would allow him handle both roles.

“What we are even thinking of right now is to give Eguavoen the two jobs. The national team plays about 10 matches a year, so during those times when they are not playing, he can carry on with his other responsibilities.

“Coaching is very touch and go. Right now, he has a stable job being Technical Director where he gets paid by FIFA. To leave that for being a coach where things can change any moment and he can get fired would be very risky.

“That is why we want him to keep the two positions. So, whatever happens, he has shown that he can excel in both and if anything happens with the coaching, he can go back to just being technical director,” the official added.

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