Rafael Nadal ends Novak Djokovic hoodoo

Rafael Nadal ended a seven-match losing streak against Novak Djokovic in emphatic fashion by thrashing the world No.

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2 to reach the final of the Madrid Open and move within a step of a third consecutive claycourt title.

The Spaniard, who won 6-2 6-4 on Saturday, will be aiming for a fifth Madrid title when he meets Austrian Dominic Thiem in Sunday’s showpiece.

World No.9 Thiem beat Uruguayan Pablo Cuevas 6-4 6-4 in the other semi-final.

Nadal made a dream start in the 50th meeting between the great rivals, winning every point in the first game to break Djokovic, with the home crowd wildly celebrating his first point – a potent return which the Serbian could only hit into the ground.

Djokovic won the last meeting between the pair in the quarter-finals of the Rome Masters a year ago, and Nadal had not beaten the 12-times grand slam winner since the 2014 French Open final.

“The circumstances nowadays are completely different compared to those seven matches that occurred before. The last two years perhaps haven’t been my best two years. They were really good years for Novak,” Nadal told a news conference.

However, the Spaniard added: “It’s one more match. What’s important to me is to make it to another final.

“As years go by, depending on the type of victories, (they) can fulfil you a little bit more or less. The most important thing is the titles, not the opponents that you have beaten.”

Defending champion Djokovic, who cut ties with long-time coach Marian Vajda and his staff the week before the tournament in a bid to reverse his downward trajectory of results, surrendered his serve again in the third game, and Nadal held to go 4-0 up.

Real Madrid greats Raul and Cristiano Ronaldo were among those watching in the stands in the Caja Majica on a scorching day in the Spanish capital as Nadal continued his rampant start to the year.

The Spaniard finished off the first set in 40 minutes and again broke the struggling Djokovic in the opening game of the second.

The world No.2 broke back in the fourth to tie the set at 2-2 and celebrated by punching the air.

It proved to be a brief respite for the Serbian, however, as Nadal broke him again in the next game and held to restore his two-game lead.

He missed two match points on his serve and then had to save a break point before taking the contest at the third time of asking to reach the Madrid final for the eighth time.

On Sunday, Nadal will look to add to his recent triumphs in the Monte Carlo Masters and the Barcelona Open.

Djokovic said he was encouraged by his performance.

“It was a positive week, a positive experience. I take, as I say, more positives than negatives into the next week in Rome,” he said.

Superb Saracens retain European title

Saracens have delivered another superb display of rugby skill and mental resilience to eventually overcome the challenge of Clermont Auvergne 28-17 and retain the European Champions Cup after a gripping final at Murrayfield.

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The London club started strongly with two tries in the first 22 minutes and looked as they were going to cruise to victory but Clermont fought back to ensure there was only a point in it going into the last 10 minutes.

Saracens, however, as they have so many times before, held their nerve under pressure in a superb atmosphere as Alex Goode broke through for the killer third try in the 73rd minute which Owen Farrell converted from the touchline.

The victory made Saracens the fourth team to retain Europe’s premier club title after Leicester, Leinster and Toulon while perennial bridesmaids Clermont, who have lost 11 of their 12 French championship finals, became the first to play in three finals and lose them all.

“The win felt different to last year, it’s a relief. There was a lot of satisfaction from this,” said Saracens halfback Richard Wigglesworth.

“We could easily have lost our heads being so dominant and not scoring but we didn’t. We want to keep building but we’ve put down a marker now.”

Saracens, now unbeaten in two full seasons in the competition, will now turn their attention to the double – they face Exeter away in the Premiership semi-finals next week.

Clermont, beaten by Toulon in the 2013 and 2015 finals, will have to regather for another assault on the French championship, where they currently lie second.

“We gave it our all out there – we might have left it a bit late in the first half to start playing but we had a good fightback in the second half and we’re proud of that effort,” Clermont fullback Scott Spedding said.

“We are absolutely gutted. We don’t know what we’re missing but hopefully one day it turns our way.”

Labor unsure how to split $22b for schools

Labor has promised to give schools an extra $22 billion should it win government but won’t detail how the money will be divvied up until it’s talked to everyone in the sector.

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Opposition Leader Bill Shorten used his budget reply speech to confirm the party would find the $22 billion it says the government has stripped out of education funding over the next decade.

Shadow treasurer Chris Bowen said on Sunday there were still more announcements to come.

“We’ve announced the funding envelope over the decade,” he told Sky News.

“In terms of sectoral approach and the funding profile, we have consultations to do with the states, with the Catholic education office, with educators, P&Cs, more broadly.”

However, the government looks likely to be able to enshrine its new funding approach in legislation after the Greens indicated they intend to seize the opportunity to create a fairer system.

The commonwealth will increase its schools funding from $17.5 billion in 2017 to $30.6 billion in 2027.

But that boost is about $22 billion less than what Labor planned to give schools over the same decade when it was in power – although it’s more than the coalition has indicated in any of its budgets since 2014.

Labor’s pledge to restore the funding is over the same timeframe as the government’s plan, up to 2027.

But with the next federal election not due until early 2019, it’s unclear what would happen to the $3.6 billion difference between the government’s plan and Labor’s in 2018 and 2019.

Greens education spokeswoman Sarah Hanson-Young said it was time for Labor to get real about the state of funding.

“Gonski years five and six (in 2018 and 2019) are already gone. It was wrong for the Liberals to cut them but the Senate can’t bring them back, they’re not in legislation,” she told Fairfax Media.

She indicated the Greens want more money to go to the neediest schools faster.

The legislation before parliament outlines the government’s intention for the commonwealth to pay 20 per cent of a base per-student funding level, plus loadings for disadvantage, to public schools and 80 per cent to private schools.

It says it’s up to the states to make up the rest, and the legislation will force state governments to sign on to a new agreement on schooling.

No future increase in bank levy: Morrison

Scott Morrison says the bank levy announced in last week’s budget is permanent but he has no plans to raise it any further in the future.

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The 0.06 per cent tax on the big four banks and Australia’s largest investment bank, Macquarie, will raise just over $6 billion to help towards budget repair and was the biggest surprise in the treasurer’s annual statement.

The UK has a similar tax on banks but has raised it several times since its introduction.

“We have no plans to do that whatsoever,” Mr Morrison told ABC television on Sunday.

“We have set it at the levy we think is appropriate and we think is fair.”

The bank chiefs are furious and are threatening to pass on the cost of the levy to their customers and shareholders.

But Mr Morrison insists the banks can absorb the impost.

“If banks think the way to build shareholder value is to fleece their customers then I don’t think that is a very sound business strategy,” he said.

He said the levy was small when compared to the 25 basis-point changes in the cash rate made by the Reserve Bank and at a time at a time when they are enjoying a 20-40 basis point advantage over smaller banks when they raise money in the financial market.

“To suggest this is somehow the end of financial civilisation as we know it is one of the biggest overreaches in a whinge about a tax I have ever seen,” Mr Morrison said.

But shadow treasurer Chris Bowen does not believe the levy is about competition, given the government has only just sought a review on the issue through the Productivity Commission two years after it was recommended in the Murray review of the financial system.

However, Labor does support the levy and, like the government, would make it permanent.

But Mr Bowen believes it was a last minute decision to drop it into the budget because the government was short on cash.

He said the government had not consulted the sector nor taken advice from the Council of Financial Regulators about its impact.

“It was a desperate measure because they were short of cash so they said I know what we’ll do, we’ll dump a bank levy in,” Mr Bowen told Sky News.

Australian and Indonesian designers strengthen ties through fashion

Australian designer Jenny Kee is an 80s fashion icon.

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Decades later she’s still creating bold prints, but this time she’s got her eyes set on the market of Australia’s northern neighbour.

Ms Kee told SBS World News: “My clothes are about colour and joy and love of all the Australian imagery that can be used in subtle or non-subtle ways.”

Watch: Jenny Kee see similarities between her and Indonesian fashion

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Meanwhile, Indonesian fashion designer Tuty Adib wants to sell her creations to Australia.

Ms Tuty designs modest fashion, which she hopes has a universal appeal.

“My fashion is not just for Muslims or Muslim women, it’s for everyone who wants to wear modest fashion.”

The designers featured their collections at the ‘Indonesia Beautiful’ fashion show organised by the Consulate General of Indonesia in Sydney.

Watch: Tuty Adib believes her modest fashion has a universal appeal

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It follows a discussion this year between the two countries’ leaders about the importance of collaborating in the creative industries.

In February, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Indonesian President Joko Widodo agreed to explore the economic potential of the fashion industry.

Consul General Yayan Ganda Hayat Mulyana told SBS World News “the creative sector is booming and becoming the pillars of both countries”.

Watch: Indonesian Consul General supports fashion ties

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Australia’s creative industries are worth $90.19 billion in turnover to the national economy and employ more than 600,000 Australians. The fashion industry constitutes $12 billion.

Indonesia is the 12th largest textile exporter to Australia, valued at US$500 million. But that has the potential to change.

According to a 2016 McKinsey report, the global fashion market at US$2.4 trillion is projected to accelerate by up to 3.5 per cent in 2017.

“I would like to bring Australia and Indonesian designers to collaborate to tap into the potential of the global market,” Mr Yayan said.

“We [Indonesia] have creation, we have motifs, we are rich with cultural motifs, Australia has technology, and management skills.”

In June, Indonesia and Australia will enter the seventh round of negotiations towards the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership, which promises to open new markets and business opportunities.  

Watch: Introducing heritage-listed batik to Australia

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North Korean missile landed in Sea of Japan: Suga

A ballistic missile launched by North Korea flew 30 minutes and landed in the Sea of Japan, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said on Sunday.

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South Korea’s military said separately the missile had flown about 700 kilometres (430 miles).

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said on Sunday that North Korea’s firing of a ballistic missile was a violation of U.N. resolutions and that Japan strongly protested the action.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe repeated the protest in comments to reporters.

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South Korea’s military said earlier that North Korean had fired an unidentified projectile from a region near its west coast.

North Korea fired on Sunday an unidentified projectile from a region near its west coast, South Korea’s military said.

The nature of the projectile is not immediately clear, a South Korean military official said by telephone.

Yonhap news agency reported the projectile launched appeared to be a ballistic missile.

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Surgery ‘should be option for obese kids’

Weight loss surgery on a child may be the only option in some cases but caution is needed, doctors and experts agree.

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Brisbane-based surgeon Dr George Hopkins says desperate parents of obese children are screaming out for the surgical intervention yet the Australian hospital system is “unequipped” to meet their need.

Speaking at the Australian New Zealand College of Anaesthetist’s Annual Scientific Meeting (ASM) in Brisbane, he implored his colleagues to start a conversation on the controversial issue.

“It’s been discussed intermittently in small groups, but we need more than that for hospitals to start saying ‘lets set this up’. Logistically our health system as it stands can’t deal with this,” he said.

Dr Matthew Remedios, a Brisbane-based gastroenterologist, performing the operation on a child depends on the situation but said the medical profession does need to be careful.

“Next will be lap-sleeving people in utero,” he said during a Q&A session at the ASM on Sunday.

“As a community we should have some degrees of caution and thought before we rush into surgical procedures for overweight minors,” he told AAP.

One in four Australian children aged 2-17 are now either overweight or obese.

Dr Hopkins has been performing effective sleeve gastrectomies on adolescents for years and says his patients have been getting younger.

One was an 11-year-old boy who weighed about 135kg but was unable to have the surgery unlike his 15-year-old brother.

The boy refused to go to school because the playground became too difficult for him psychologically.

“It was not worth it, he could learn nothing in the environment that had been created,” Dr Hopkins told the meeting.

“It was literally gut-wrenching.

“The need out there is just screaming, it’s just a question of getting everybody on board,” he said.

“These parents are often desperate. If someone is dragging their kid along to see me because they care, they’re prepared to go through all the steps to do it. It’s not child abuse, it’s anything but.”

At the end of the day, however, there must be a consensus on how young is too young because there are risks involved with any surgical procedure, he acknowledged.

Dr Hopkins said “conservative management does not work” and to insist that it does is almost “perverse” because obesity can be the result of a genetic predisposition.

“Obviously prevention is always better than the cure, but we don’t stand outside cancer clinics saying, ‘if we just could have prevented it’,” he said.

Dr Hopkins’ comments echo the concerns of childhood obesity expert Professor Louise Baur, of The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, who says the Australian health system is failing people who are struggling with obesity.

Research shows just one in 60 overweight or obese children are offered help in weight management from their doctor and “highly effective” bariatric surgery isn’t easily accessible to those who need it most, she told the 2017 Royal Australasian College of Physicians Conference.

Giants beat Vixens in Super Netball

Giants coach Julie Fitzgerald believes her side’s ability to pile immediate pressure in high-flying Melbourne Vixens was the catalyst for their polished 56-52 Super Netball win at AIS Arena on Sunday.

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After a lean period, in which it seemed that the absence of injured captain Kim Green might be too much to bear, the Giants strung together a consummate team performance on Sunday.

The win catapults them past the Vixens and Sunshine Coast Lightning to the top of the ladder with just two rounds remaining before the finals.

The Giants won the first quarter by four goals, but the Vixens claimed the second by a goal, leaving the halftime ledger at 28-25 to the home side.

The Giants stepped up the tempo again after the break to open up a seven-goal margin at three-quarter-time.

The Vixens came home strongly in the final term but the Giants held on to secure a confidence-building win.

“We knew if we were going to beat a team like the Vixens we had to be honest for the whole 60 minutes,” Fitzgerald said.

“We couldn’t afford a slow start because they’ve had a couple of really blistering first quarters, so we knew our start had to be good.”

Fitzgerald was thrilled with the Giants’ defensive effort throughout and pleased that her positional changes for Susan Pettitt and Jo Harten paid off.

“I think it was a good option for us to move Susan into goal shooter and Jo to goal attack because it provided us with really good movement in the circle,” Fitzgerald said.

“Jo’s good for us defensively down the court. I thought there were a lot of plusses.”

The Giants’ early six-goal lead condemned Melbourne to an opening-quarter deficit for the first time this season.

The Vixens stepped up their defensive pressure in the second term, but failed to fully convert that improvement at the other end of the court.

The Giants re-asserted their authority in the third period, prompting a Melbourne time out and a change with Emma Ryde at goal shooter in place of Mwai Kumwenda.

Giants goalkeeper Sam Poolman maintained her intensity, seeing her side extend their advantage to eight goals before going to the final break ahead 42-35.

The Vixens found some answers late in the match, but they came too late.

“I don’t think we ever really got into the game,” Vixens coach Simone McKinnis said.

“The Giants did a great job in keeping up their effort right from the word go.

‘They were very good from the first whistle and we spent the game chasing.”

The Giants host the fifth-placed Queensland Firebirds next round, while the Vixens are at home against the rock-bottom Adelaide Thunderbirds.

Vixens unfazed as netball finals beckon

Melbourne Vixens coach Simone McKinnis will not be lured into wholesale personnel changes in the wake of the 56-52 loss to Giants Netball on Sunday, that saw her side relinquish top spot on the Super Netball ladder with just two rounds remaining.

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The Vixens have fielded a remarkably consistent starting seven throughout the season, but they were shut out by a polished Giants outfit, who now lead the competition from the Vixens and Sunshine Coast Lightning.

It puts the Sydney club on track for the minor premiership and a home major semi-final, though the Vixens and Lightning remain only a point behind.

“We really wanted to win that game,” McKinnis admitted of the round 12 loss at AIS Arena in Canberra.

“But the thing is, we’ve got to take what we need to from the game and just move forward. We’ve got two more games and the opportunity is still there to finish on top. That’s what we want.”

Asked if the result would spur a re-think of the starting lining up, McKinnis said: “I don’t think so. We’ve got 10 players that are capable of going on. We didn’t play very well, the Giants played a very good game, you’ve got to identify those areas that we struggled in and address them.

“I definitely have to acknowledge that the Giants played very well and didn’t allow us to get into the game. But that’s a good learning experience for us.”

For the Giants – who have battled hard since losing captain Kim Green to a serious knee injury five weeks into the season – toppling the Vixens was a huge lift after a period of moderate form.

“I won’t pretend, it’s a massive confidence boost,” coach Julie Fitzgerald said.

“Everybody knows we haven’t been at our best for the last few weeks. We’ve been training terribly hard, just trying to find the answers and put it all together. For that result to eventuate after all the hard work these girls have put in, and all the encouragement and support they’ve given each other, is very rewarding.”

The Giants’ win moved them to 20 points, with the Vixens in second ahead of Lightning on percentage. Lightning scored a 64-50 win over West Coast Fever on the Sunshine Coast on Friday night.

Collingwood’s gritty 62-50 triumph over NSW Swifts on Saturday night in Melbourne consolidated the Magpies’ hold on fourth place with a three-point break from the Queensland Firebirds. The Magpies have hit form at the right time, winning four of their past five clashes.

First plays second and third plays fourth in the first round of finals on June 3, with the top-placed side in each game hosting.

Mundy the hero for Dockers in AFL thriller

David Mundy has broken Richmond hearts for the second time in three years, goaling after the siren to give Fremantle a dramatic two-point win in their AFL match at the MCG.

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Dockers coach Ross Lyon nearly missed the dramatic denouement as he had left the box and headed straight for the lift when Brandon Ellis’s flying left-footed snap sailed through at the other end to give the Tigers an unlikely lead with 24 seconds left on the clock.

But crucially, Dockers onballer Lachie Neale was able to win the last centre clearance of the match and get the ball to the ice-cool Mundy, who marked and kicked truly to secure a 10.12 (72) to 10.10 (70) victory.

It was Fremantle’s only goal of the fourth quarter after Richmond had kicked five majors on the trot, having started the term 30 points in arrears.

Two years ago, Mundy kicked the final goal at the MCG in near-identical circumstances against the Tigers after Bachar Houli committed a bad turnover.

“Neale cleared it, somehow found Mundy, I got out of the lift and Mundy was lined up and the siren had gone,” Lyon said.

“I just wasn’t sure how far out or how wide the angle.

“What was it – 30 metres and 45 degrees? I thought ‘he’s done this before David so he’ll probably do it again’.

“But until you see it sail through … to handle that sort of pressure, he’s been wonderful this year.”

Sunday’s win was Fremantle’s fifth in their past six games.

Richmond have now lost three matches on the trot, the last two by less than a goal to the Western Bulldogs and the Dockers.

“I thought our first three quarters were pretty poor, we didn’t play anywhere near what we would have liked, didn’t defend it particularly well,” Richmond coach Damien Hardwick said.

“You look at the last 20 seconds and there were things we could have done better in that situation too.

“But the damage was done in the first thee quarters where we played a pretty poor brand of footy.”

Fremantle had the better of a thoroughly forgettable first half, but led by only five points at the long break after Dustin Martin goaled in the final minute.

The Dockers lifted in the third term, but Richmond got even worse, conceding four goals to nil as the margin blew out.

The Tigers looked to have finally kicked their first goal of the third quarter in the dying seconds, only for Josh Caddy’s effort to be controversially disallowed for a goal-line shepherd by Jack Riewoldt, which was deemed illegal.

Richmond slipped to a 5-3 win-loss record, having started the season with five-straight victories.

The Tigers’ next match is a trip to Spotless Stadium to take on the GWS Giantson Saturday, while Fremantle return home to square off against improving Carlton next Sunday.

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