AUSTRALIA is the center of the sporting universe today. The Australian Open of Tennis continues this weekend, with contests in the Round of 32, in Men's and Women's singles and doubles, along with mixed doubles. The event is taking place at Melbourne Park, Melbourne. At this point, Round 3 is coming to an end, as those who are moving into Round 4 are determined. Brit Dan Evans joined Andy Murray in the last 16 of the Australian Open with a brilliant performance to give Britain two men in the fourth round. Roger Federer will also advance, but phenom Novak Djokovic has washed out and will not continue in the tournament. Play continues through Thursday's celebration of Australia Day and beyond, with the finals on January 29th.
The Santos Tour Down Under also continues this weekend. Australian Richie Porte, Richie (BMC Racing Team) currently holds the Overall and King of the Mountain Jersey, with fellow countryman Caleb Ewan (ORICA - SCOTT)leading in points. Ruben Guerreiro of Portugal (Trek - Segafredo) currently holds the Young Rider jersey, with UniSA-Australia currently ahead in the team competition. Exciting stages are foreseen today and tomorrow, closing day of the Tour Down Under.
Brazil: As mentioned previously, Chapecoense will play their first match today since the tragic crash which took the lives of almost all their team, a friendly against defending Brazilian league champions Palmeiras. The people of Chapeco will, once-again, fill the small Arena Conda to see some of the 22 new players who make up the squad. Three of the six survivors were players, including central defender Neto, who was one of the team's leaders. He was the last to be pulled out from the wreckage. Chapeco is a quiet, unassuming city with a population of about 209,553, a tight-knit community, and a major part of that is the Chapecoense football team. The best to them.
England and Wales: Another weekend of top Premier League action is upon us, and it's a big one for Pep Guardiola as his Manchester City side take on Tottenham. City have struggled in recent months, while Tottenham are on the rise, but who will come out on top at the Etihad? Meanwhile, Chelsea have Diego Costa back in the squad but don't seem to need him that much as they take on lowly Hull City seven points clear at the top of the table. Liverpool host Swansea, while Manchester United travel to Stoke and Arsenal will hope to keep up the pressure on their title rivals with a win over Burnley.
In Africa Cup of Nations play today, Ghana faces Mali, and Uganda faces Egypt as group play continues.
In Spain today, La Liga clubs Real Madrid and Malaga faces each other. Real Madrid was flying high, having just achieved a league record last weekend with 40 straight victories as they beat Seville, but then they lost twice this week. How the mighty have fallen! Malaga has been taunting Real Madrid in social media, reminding them that last year the teams played to a draw.