Thursday Lunchtime Sports Update

TENNIS

Rafael Nadal has piled the pressure on Australian Open rival Novak Djokovic.

The Spaniard has reached the final of the Melbourne Grand Slam and has told the top seed he should do the same.

Nadal has two days off after beating 20 year old Stefanos Tsitsipas in straights sets.

Djokovic must play French world number 32 Lucas Pouille for the first time in the semi finals tomorrow.

U-S Open champion Naomi Osaka and twice Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova will contest this year’s Women’s singles final.

GOLF

Shane Lowry’s early good form at the start of the season is continuing in the Middle East.

He shot an opening 3-under par round of 69 – a score matched by fellow Irishman Paul Dunne who has just finished his first round at the Dubai Desert Classic.

Sergio Garcia is one of seven players who share the lead on 6 under.

Rory McIlroy is preparing to tee off at Torrey Pines for the first time.

The Ulsterman makes his debut at the Farmers Insurance Open in San Diego today.

Tiger Woods is also in the field.

McIlroy has been impressed by the course where Woods won the U-S Open in 2008.

SOCCER

Manchester City await the winners of tonight’s League Cup semi final between Chelsea and Tottenham at Stamford Bridge.

Spurs hold the upper hand having won the opening tie 1-nil.

Dealing with an injury crisis manager Mauricio Pochettino is also planning for an F-A Cup tie with Crystal Palace at the weekend.

He insists he team are in a better place than Premier League leaders Liverpool, who are out of both cup competitions.

Middlesbrough have signed former Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel.

The 31 year old won the Champions League with the Blues in 2012, but left Stamford Bridge in a lucrative move to China two years ago.

The Nigerian international played in last summer’s World Cup, and will now spearhead Boro’s hopes of returning to the Premier League.

The Riverside club are currently fifth on the Championship table, seven points behind the leaders Leeds.