By Julian Linden NEW YORK (Reuters) - Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal remained on course for a tantalising first ever collision at the U.S. Open after demolishing their opposition at Flushing Meadows on Saturday. The two great rivals have never played each other at the year's final grand slam but are drawn to meet each other in the quarter-finals next week, and they moved a step closer by winning their third-round ties in brilliant fashion. Federer, playing the feature night match at an buzzing Arthur Ashe Stadium, doled out a 6-3 6-0 6-2 hammering to Frenchman Adrian Mannarino but knows the focus is already on the possible meeting with Nadal. "I have gone through that my entire career, people talking about our matches even before the tournament started," he said. "We're used to it. We know how to handle it. Clearly I think we both hope it's going to happen this time for the first time in New York." Earlier in the day, when the sun was at its hottest, Nadal turned on his own masterclass to brush aside Croatia's Ivan Dodig 6-4 6-3 6-3 and lead a trio of Spanish men into the fourth round. French Open runner-up David Ferrer also moved through, beating Mikhail Kukushkin 6-4 6-3 4-6 6-4, while a third Spaniard, Tommy Robredo, ended the Cinderella run of British qualifier Dan Evans. Former world number one Caroline Wozniacki and the 2011 Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova were among the high-profile casualties in a women's draw packed with surprises. Four of the eight women already through to the fourth round are unseeded and three of the eight are Italian. Camila Giorgi, who had to come through the qualifiers to reach the main draw, sent Wozniacki packing with a 4-6 6-4 6-3 win on Arthur Ashe Stadium while Flavia Pennetta knocked out the former U.S. Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova 7-5 6-1. Roberta Vinci also won for Italy. Nadal has been in great form in the past month, winning warm-up tournaments in Montreal and Cincinnati. He has not dropped a single set in getting to the last 16 at Flushing Meadows and believes he is still improving. "I played better today than in the previous matches. (That's) always a positive thing," he said. Nadal's next opponent is Germany's Philipp Kohlschreiber, who beat towering American John Isner 6-4 3-6 7-5 7-6 (5), while Federer's next assignment is Robredo, a 7-6 (6) 6-1 4-6 7-5 winner over Evans. FRUSTRATED While Federer and Nadal cruised into the next round, a feisty Victoria Azarenka dropped her first set of the tournament before recovering to book her place in the last 16 of the women's draw. A finalist last year and one of the favourites to win the title this season, the world number two and reigning Australian Open champion overcame a shaky start to beat Alize Cornet of France 6-7(2) 6-3 6-2. The Belarussian was given a tough workout from Cornet and allowed her frustrations to boil over when the umpire ordered a point she had won be replayed. "That was the most ridiculous thing there is," Azarenka growled. Former world number one Ana Ivanovic had to dig deep to avoid joining the exit queue. The Serbian was on the brink of defeat in her match against American Christina McHale before recovering to win 4-6 7-5 6-4. She plays Azarenka next. "I know what to expect," said Ivanovic. "I really want to play against the best and challenge myself, because I'm ready to take them on." BEATEN CHAMPIONS Kvitova, the 2011 Wimbledon champion and seventh seed at Flushing Meadows, fell 6-3 6-0 to American wildcard Alison Riske. The U.S. Open is the only grand slam where Kvitova has failed to at least make the quarter-finals and the Czech said she was unable to play near her best after contracting a virus. "Unfortunately I was lying in the bed yesterday and I had a fever," Kvitova said. "I tried to play, tried to fight. But my body wouldn't let me fight." Riske burst into tears after her win. The 23-year-old, who still travels with a security blanket that was given to her on the day she was born, has had a long road to her first fourth round appearance at a grand slam. She first tried to qualify for the U.S. Open in 2007 and had never won a main draw match until this year. Now she is through to the last 16, and facing a showdown with Daniela Hantuchova, who saved four match points in her 3-6 7-5 7-6 (4) win over Israeli qualifier Julia Glushko. "The blankie story is out," Riske said. "I'm used to it now. I can't deny it now. It's getting smaller by the week. It can fit in the palm of my hand."
President Biden has scrapped a ban which stopped transgender people joining the US military.
- Associated Press
A federal judge on Sunday blocked the release of a Tennessee man who authorities say carried flexible plastic handcuffs during the riot at the U.S. Capitol earlier this month. U.S. District Judge Beryl A. Howell for the District of Columbia set aside an order by a judge in Tennessee concerning the release of Eric Munchel of Nashville. After testimony at a detention hearing, U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeffrey Frensley for the Middle District of Tennessee determined Friday that Munchel wasn’t a flight risk and didn’t pose harm to the public.
A former Australian school principal accused of sexually assaulting students was extradited to Australia on Monday under an order from Israel's Supreme Court, her lawyer said. Malka Leifer had fought her return to Australia, including with a submission of mental illness, and the case has been in Israeli courts since 2014. Leifer, who was principal of an ultra-Orthodox Jewish school in Melbourne, has denied the allegations against her.
- The Week
What the Biden administration's first call with South Korea's defense secretary says about the countries' relationship
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin had his first call with his South Korean counterpart, Minister of National Defense Suh Wook, this weekend. It sounded like things went pretty well, with the United States government's readout explaining the conversation "underscored the U.S. commitment to defend" South Korea. But Duyeon Kim, a senior fellow at the Center for New American Security noticed South Korea's description of the exchange differed slightly.In a Twitter thread on Monday, Kim explained that she wasn't surprised by what South Korea left out in its own readout. For example, there was no mention of two of the Pentagon's key takeaways, including the promise of "U.S. extended deterrent" and the necessity of maintaining a "rules-based international order." Kim's hunch is that South Korean President Moon Jae-in likely expects extended deterrence would upset North Korea and jeopardize his vision of a peace process with his neighbor. The international order detail, meanwhile, could interfere with Seoul's "strategic ambiguity" approach toward China.> DOD's press release: https://t.co/vZrmCQdX2F > MND's press release (in Korean): https://t.co/8yUcdg4bgT> > The alliance isn't doomed, but coordination will require a delicate dance. This time (vs w/Trump), Moon carries the burden of proof to meet alliance expectations../end> > -- Duyeon Kim (@duyeonkim) January 25, 2021Kim thinks there's time and room for the U.S. and South Korea to find their footing as the Biden administration settles in, but it may not be as easy as either side anticipated, as she explained in a separate thread last week. > SKorean prez Moon, in new year's presser just now, seems to have very high expectations about Biden's Korea policy & may be in for some surprises. My upcoming Foreign Affairs article (stuck in their editing queue since before Christmas) goes into detail, but here's a teaser..1/> > -- Duyeon Kim (@duyeonkim) January 18, 2021More stories from theweek.com Liz Cheney spokesperson tells Matt Gaetz to 'leave his beauty bag at home' as he heads to Wyoming Biden did not, in fact, remove Trump's 'Diet Coke button' from the Resolute Desk, White House clarifies Josh Hawley knows exactly what he's doing
- The Week
Biden did not, in fact, remove Trump's 'Diet Coke button' from the Resolute Desk, White House clarifies
The new Biden administration has yet not disclosed the secrets of Area 51 or explained what the Air Force really knows about UFOs, but it did clarify, at least, the mystery of the vanished "Diet Coke button" former President Donald Trump would use to summon refreshments in the Oval Office. The usher button, as it is formally known, is not gone, even if it is no longer used to summon Diet Cokes, a White House official tells Politico.The White House official "unfortunately wouldn't say what Biden will use the button for," Politico's Daniel Lippman writes, suggesting Biden might summon Orange Gatorade and not the obvious answer, ice cream — or, let's get real, coffee. What's more, there are evidently two usher buttons in the Oval Office, one at the Resolute Desk and the other next to the chair by the fireplace, a former White House official told Politico, adding that Trump didn't actually use the Diet Coke button all that much because "he would usually just verbally ask the valets, who were around all day, for what he needed."In any case, it is not the placement of the button that matters, of course, but how you use it. And Biden will presumably know better than to order ice cream treats during a top-secret national security briefing.More stories from theweek.com Liz Cheney spokesperson tells Matt Gaetz to 'leave his beauty bag at home' as he heads to Wyoming Josh Hawley knows exactly what he's doing Apollo CEO Leon Black to step down after $158 million payments to Jeffrey Epstein disclosed
- Associated Press
A group of U.N experts has criticized Sri Lanka's requirement that those who die of COVID-19 be cremated, even it goes against a family's religious beliefs, and warned that decisions based on “discrimination and aggressive nationalism” could incite hatred and violence. The experts, who are part of the Special Procedures of the U.N Human Rights Council, said in a statement Monday that rule amounts to a human rights violation. “We deplore the implementation of such public health decisions based on discrimination, aggressive nationalism and ethnocentrism amounting to persecution of Muslims and other minorities in the country,” the experts said.
Germany's health minister supported European Union proposals to introduce restrictions on COVID-19 vaccines on Tuesday as tensions grew with AstraZeneca and Pfizer over sudden supply cuts just a month after the bloc started vaccinating citizens. The EU has proposed setting up a register of vaccine exports, amid frustration over delays in deliveries of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 shot and other supply problems.
- Los Angeles Times Opinion
Gov. Newsom needs to do a better job communicating California's statewide COVID restrictions with the public, and with other state officials.
- The Telegraph
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has announced the establishment of its embassy in Tel Aviv as the US national security advisor announced that America hopes to build “on the success of Israel’s normalisation agreements” under the Biden administration. The UAE cabinet decision to approve establishing the embassy comes after they signed the Abraham Accords in September, becoming the first Gulf state to establish a full diplomatic relationship with Israel. No further details about the embassy were given in UAE media. While Israel’s government recognises Jerusalem as its capital, the international community does not, with Palestinians claiming East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state. Most countries base their embassies in Tel Aviv. Before the deal, Israel only had peace deals with only two Arab countries, Egypt and Jordan - where it has fortified embassies. Most Arab countries had previously refrained from recognising Israel, believing that recognition should only be granted if serious concessions are made in the Palestinian peace process. Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco later agreed to follow in the UAE’s footsteps and normalise ties with Israel under US-brokered deals.
- The Independent
Giuliani slams ‘hate-filled left-wing’ as he responds to $1.3bn defamation lawsuit by Dominion Voting Systems
Donald Trump’s personal lawyer claims legal action is intended to ‘frighten people of faint heart’
- Associated Press
The Supreme Court on Monday ordered a further review by a lower court of a lawsuit brought by a Texas death row inmate who objects to a policy that bars a chaplain from accompanying him into the death chamber. The justices ordered Ruben Gutierrez's case sent back to a federal trial-level court for additional proceedings. The justices in June had blocked Gutierrez's execution after Texas changed its policy and barred all spiritual advisers from the death chamber.
President Joe Biden vowed on Monday to leverage the purchasing power of the U.S. government, the world's biggest single buyer of goods and services, to strengthen domestic manufacturing and create markets for new technologies. The Democratic president signed an executive order aimed at closing loopholes in existing "Buy American" provisions, which apply to about a third of the $600 billion in goods and services the federal government buys each year. The order will make any waivers more transparent and create a senior White House role to oversee the process.
- The Telegraph
Why would the European Union threaten to block coronavirus vaccine exports? EU countries have long been waiting for the AstraZeneca vaccine – and now, at the last, it has been snatched from their grasp. In August, the European Commission announced that it had secured 300 million doses of the AstraZeneca jab, with an option for a further 100 million. With enough doses for 200 million people, the supply could have vaccinated roughly half of all EU citizens. It brought the European Commission's highly ambitious target of vaccinating 70 percent of all EU citizens by the summer, and even a revival of the tourism trade, into the realms of possibility. The European Medicines Agency is expected to grant market authorisation at the end of the week, meaning doses could be shipped out to the member states. But on Friday, AstraZeneca wrote to the EU executive saying it had supply chain problems and would not be able to fulfil its contractual obligations. The news was a bitter blow to the commission, which has led negotiations in the EU joint vaccine procurement process, but especially for the bloc's member states. National governments are now faced with the unenviable task of explaining to their voters why the promised vaccines are not coming. Many EU countries bet on the AstraZeneca jab, foregoing its more expensive and difficult to store rivals.That made it an attractive proposition for poorer member states, and easier to get to more remote areas than those requiring complicated storage technology. They were waiting for the AstraZeneca vaccine, despite growing pressure from their voters. Dissatisfaction with coronavirus restrictions is growing in Europe, with the Dutch rioting against a coronavirus curfew at the weekend.
- Associated Press
A growing number of Republican senators say they oppose holding an impeachment trial, a sign of the dimming chances that former President Donald Trump will be convicted on the charge that he incited a siege of the U.S. Capitol. House Democrats, who will walk the impeachment charge of “incitement of insurrection” to the Senate on Monday evening, are hoping that strong Republican denunciations of Trump after the Jan. 6 riot will translate into a conviction and a separate vote to bar Trump from holding office again.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has abandoned his demand that Democrats state, in writing, that they would not abandon the legislative filibuster.Between the lines: McConnell was never going to agree to a 50-50 power sharing deal without putting up a fight over keeping the 60-vote threshold. But the minority leader ultimately caved after it became clear that delaying the organizing resolution was no longer feasible. Support safe, smart, sane journalism. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.What we're hearing: Centrist Democrats Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) privately indicated to McConnell that they would not vote to end the filibuster, two sources familiar with the talks tell Axios. * McConnell seized on those promises as an escape hatch, as well as leverage to use over the members in case Democrats take up the issue in the coming months. * McConnell will give a longer take on the filibuster in his floor remarks Tuesday. What they're saying: "Today two Democratic Senators publicly confirmed they will not vote to end the legislative filibuster," McConnell said in a statement late Monday evening. * "With these assurances, I look forward to moving ahead with a power-sharing agreement modeled on that precedent.” * Schumer spokesman Justin Goodman said in a follow-up statement: “We’re glad Senator McConnell threw in the towel and gave up on his ridiculous demand. We look forward to organizing the Senate under Democratic control and start getting big, bold things done for the American people.” What's next: Expect a detailed power-sharing accord to be announced this week, modeled after the 2001 Senate agreement between senators Tom Daschle and Trent Lott.Get smarter, faster with the news CEOs, entrepreneurs and top politicians read. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.
- FOX News Videos
Biden administration has system in place where reporters will not ask president tough questions: Media critic
Steve Krakauer, editor at Fourth Watch, says 'it shouldn't be contingent' on one reporter to ask Biden tough questions.
Pirates who seized 15 sailors when they stormed a Turkish-crewed container ship in the Gulf of Guinea two days ago have not yet made contact with authorities, Turkey's foreign minister said on Monday. "We have not yet received word from the pirates," foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told reporters in Ankara. Turkey was in contact with officials in Gabon, where he said the Liberian-flagged container ship Mozart had docked with its remaining crew, and with authorities in neighbouring countries.
- Associated Press
The Biden administration on Monday suspended some of the terrorism sanctions that former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo imposed on Yemen’s Houthi rebels in his waning days in office. The Treasury Department said it would exempt certain transactions involving the Houthis from sanctions resulting from Pompeo's designation of the group as a “foreign terrorist organization” on Jan. 10. The exemption will expire Feb. 26, according to a statement from Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control announcing a general license for transactions that involve entities owned by the Iran-backed Houthis.
- The Telegraph
The acrimonious split within Republican ranks widened over the weekend as Donald Trump made his foray back into politics, backing the re-election of a hard-line supporter as chair of the party in Arizona. His wholehearted support for Kelli Ward was seen by allies as the former president firing a warning shot across the bows of any Republican senators considering backing his impeachment. Underlining Mr Trump’s grip on the Republican grassroots, the Arizona party also voted to censure John McCain’s widow, Cindy, former senator Jeff Flake and governor Doug Ducey, who refused to back the former president’s claims of election fraud. Mr Trump’s intervention came amid reports that he is considering setting up a “Patriot Party” which would spearhead primary challenges to his opponents in the 2022 mid-term elections. The former president has already amassed a massive war chest with his Save America political action committee declaring last month that it had raked in $207.5 million in donations.
Nissan Motor is accelerating the rollout of electric vehicles in China under its main brand and its local, no-frills Venucia marque as it overhauls its strategy in the world's biggest auto market, four sources told Reuters. Besides the focus on green vehicles, the plan involves using more locally made parts and technologies to reduce costs and help the struggling Japanese carmaker compete better with lower-cost Chinese firms and major global rivals, the sources said. The China strategy is a key pillar of Nissan's turnaround, which involves focusing on producing profitable cars for China, Japan and the United States, rather than chasing all-out global growth as it did under disgraced former boss Carlos Ghosn.