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It’s Nadal v Federer as old guard triumph

Australian Open:  Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer swill meet in what is a much-anticipated men’s singles final on Sunday.

After Serena and Venus Williams got through to the ladies final the meeting of the multi-Slam winning Spaniard and Swiss represents the second of two showdowns between the ‘old guard’.

Nadal secured his place in a five-set semi-final win over Grigor Dimitrov.

The Spaniard won 6-3 5-7 7-6 (7-5) 6-7 (4-7) 6-4 in almost five hours to reach a first Grand Slam final since 2014.

Nadal, who is attempting to win a 15th major title, said: “I never dreamed to be back in the final of the Australian Open.

“It is a very special thing for both of us to be playing again in a major final. Neither of us probably thought we would be here again.”

Federer beat fellow Swiss Stan Wawrinka 7-5 6-3 1-6 4-6 6-3 to stay on course for an 18th Grand Slam title.

It is a stunning return for Federer who has returned from a six-month lay-off to rest his left knee. His last major was victory Wimbledon in 2012.

At 35, he is the oldest man to reach a Grand Slam final since Ken Rosewall did so at the 1974 US Open at the age of 39.

Britain’s Gordon Reid and Belgian Joachim Gerard lifted the wheelchair men’s doubles trophy in a final-set tie-break.

The pair won 6-3 3-6 1-0 (10-3) against fellow Briton Alfie Hewett and Gus Fernandez.

The Scot, 25, won Wimbledon last year alongside Hewett, after previously winning the US and French Open.

Briton Andy Lapthorne has reached the quad singles final.


SPFLFootball: Scottish Professional Football League chairman Ralph Topping has resigned after seven years in the role.

Mr Topping revealed the decision to the SPFL General Meeting today and is expected to remain in post until a successor is appointed in July.

A former chief executive of bookmaker William Hill, Mr Topping is leaving to focus on his business partnerships and investments in the technology sector in the UK and overseas.

He said: “It has been an enormous honour to have been involved since 2009 in the game I love. I am hugely grateful to the many people who have played a part in making it such an enjoyable seven years or so and wanted to give sufficient notice to ensure a smooth transition to a new chairman.

“The SPFL has made significant progress in recent seasons, despite the many pressures and challenges of being Scotland’s national sport and I believe it is in a stronger position than for several years.

“The smooth amalgamation of the SPL and the SFL in 2013, the successful restructuring of the SPFL’s cup competitions and the major advances in club fees are three prime examples of the professional game in Scotland working together for the greater good and I’m sure that the SPFL will continue its current upward progress in the years ahead.”

SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster said: “Ralph has played a hugely influential and positive role in the leadership of the game since he took up the position in 2009. He has never sought the limelight but his hard work, integrity and commitment has earned the respect of senior boardroom figures throughout the Scottish game.

“We wish him well and have already started the process to find a replacement with the skills, experience and authority to help continue to drive the SPFL forward in the years ahead.”

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